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Free Content PD-1 negatively regulates interleukin-12 expression by limiting STAT-1 phosphorylation in monocytes/macrophages duringchronic hepatitis C virus infection

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is remarkably efficient at evading host immunity to establish chronic infection. During chronic HCV infection, interleukin-12 (IL-12) produced by monocytes/macrophages (M/M) is significantly suppressed. Programmed death-1 (PD-1), an inhibitory receptor on immune cells, plays a pivotal role in suppressing T-cell responses during chronic viral infection. To determine whether PD-1 regulates IL-12 production by M/M during chronic HCV infection, we examined the expressions of PD-1, its ligand PDL-1, and their relationship with IL-12 production in M/M from HCV-infected, HCV-resolved, and healthy subjects by flow cytometry. Toll-like receptor (TLR) -mediated IL-12 production by M/M was selectively suppressed, while PD-1/PDL-1 expressions were up-regulated, in HCV-infected subjects compared with HCV-resolved or healthy subjects. Up-regulation of PD-1 was inversely associated with the degree of IL-12 inhibition in HCV infection. Interestingly, the reduced response of M/M from HCV-infected individuals to TLR ligands appeared not to be the result of a lack of the ability to sense pathogen, but to an impaired activation of intracellular janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transfection (STAT) pathway as represented by inhibited STAT-1 phosphorylation in M/M from HCV-infected individuals compared with HCV-negative subjects. Successful HCV treatment with pegylated interferon/ribavirin or blocking PD-1/PDL-1 engagement ex vivo led to reduced PD-1 expression and improved IL-12 production as well as STAT-1 activation in M/M from HCV-infected individuals. These results suggest that the PD-1 inhibitory pathway may negatively regulate IL-12 expression by limiting STAT-1 phosphorylation in M/M during chronic HCV infection.
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Keywords: Immune regulation; hepatitis C virus infection; interleukin-12; macrophages; programmed death-1

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA 2: Medical Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, Johnson City, TN, USA

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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