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, 25 (3), 713-8

B7/BB-1 Expression and Hepatitis Activity in Liver Tissues of Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C

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B7/BB-1 Expression and Hepatitis Activity in Liver Tissues of Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C

K Mochizuki et al. Hepatology.

Abstract

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are closely related to the mechanism of liver injury in chronic viral hepatitis. Recently, it has been suggested that antigen-specific T cell activation requires both presentation of antigen by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules and the delivery of costimulatory signals. Such signals are provided by B7/BB-1, one of the most important accessory molecules, sufficient for causing antigen-specific MHC-restricted T cell activation. To evaluate the role of B7/BB-1 in chronic hepatitis C, we immunohistochemically studied its expression in liver tissues obtained from 61 patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and compared them based on hepatitis activity. In HCV-infected liver, B7/BB-1 was strongly expressed in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes. B7/BB-1-positive cells accompanied liver-infiltrating lymphocytes and were mainly detected in the periportal region. B7/BB-1 expression was closely correlated with the activity of viral hepatitis as evaluated from scores of periportal or intralobular inflammation and necrosis, or serum alanine transferase (ALT) levels. Further study by immunostaining with anti-HCV core and anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antibody showed B7/BB-1 positive cells near HCV core antigen- and HLA class I-positive cells, with B7/BB-1-positive cells mostly included among HLA class I-positive cells. These findings suggested that B7/BB-1 expression by hepatocytes may be induced by HCV infection and may trigger generation and activation of CTL, which may cause damage to HCV-infected HLA class I-expressing hepatocytes.

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