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Liver distribution of γδ-T-cells in patients with chronic hepatitis of different etiology

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Kasper H-U, Ligum D, Cucus J, Stippel DL, Dienes HP, Drebber U. Liver distribution of γδ-T-cells in patients with chronic hepatitis of different etiology. APMIS 2009; 117: 779–85.

The γδ T cells represent a minor unique T-cell subpopulation long been considered as innate-like immune cells. They are found in increased numbers in tissues from various inflammatory conditions. Their role in chronic hepatitis, however, is still discussed controversially. Fresh frozen tissues from 50 patients (18 cases hepatitis B infection, 25 hepatitis C, three cases with co-infection of hepatitis B and C and four patients with autoimmune hepatitis) were investigated. Immunohistochemistry with primary antibodies detecting αβ and γδ TCR was used to evaluate their incidence and distribution in the different histological structures of the liver. The inflammatory infiltrate in all cases of chronic hepatitis was dominated by αβ T cells and was mainly localized in the portal tracts with formation of an interface hepatitis (95.3%αβ T cells; 4.7%γδ T cells). There were neither significant differences between inflammatory infiltrate nor the amount or percentage of γδ T cells between hepatitis B, C or autoimmune hepatitis. No accumulation of γδ T cells could be observed in cases of chronic hepatitis of different etiologies. The immune-mediated phenomena in chronic hepatitis are dominated by αβ T cells. Thus, the adapted immune system is responsible for the inflammatory processes in chronic hepatitis.

Keywords: autoimmune; hepatitis; viral; αβ T cells; γδ T cells

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Pathology, University of Cologne, Cologne 2: Department of Visceral and Vascular Surgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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