Date de publication

25 août 2020


Perpiñán, E., Pérez-Del-Pulgar, S. et autres


Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection impairs HCV CD8+ T-cell responses, while it could influence immune responses towards unrelated viruses/vaccines (e.g. cytomegalovirus, CMV, and influenza, Flu). The aim of our study was to delineate whether restoration of these virus-specific CD8+ T cells occurs after direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapies and particularly in patients with cirrhosis. We performed longitudinal analysis (baseline, week 4, follow-up [FU] 12 and FU48) of virus-specific CD8+ T cells by multicolour flow cytometry in HCV-cirrhotic patients undergoing DAA therapy (n = 26) after in vitro expansion with immunodominant HCV, CMV and Flu epitopes restricted by HLA-A*02. HCV noncirrhotic patients (n = 9) and healthy individuals (n = 10) served as controls. We found that the proliferative capacity of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells increased from baseline up to FU48 in a significant proportion of cirrhotic and noncirrhotic patients. Nevertheless, these cells remained poor cytokine producers in both patient groups, regardless of the down-regulation of inhibitory co-regulatory receptors in HCV-cirrhotic patients at FU48. Likewise, high expression levels of these exhaustion markers were detected in CMV-/Flu-specific CD8+ T cells in HCV-cirrhotic patients at all time points, albeit without affecting their proliferative capacity or cytokine production. We conclude that DAA therapies induce restoration of the proliferative capacity of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells. However, these cells remain phenotypically and functionally impaired. Contrarily, the ‘exhausted’ phenotype in CMV-/Flu-specific CD8+ T cells in HCV-cirrhotic patients did not associate with their functions. Larger studier with longer follow-up may elucidate whether this complex interplay influences the outcome of cirrhotic patients.