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Hepatitis C Virus and Dendritic Cells

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A majority of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected individuals become chronically infected. There are approximately 175 million patients chronically infected with HCV worldwide. Multispecific and vigorous cellular immune responses against HCV antigens have been suggested to play a significant role in viral clearance. Patients with chronic HCV are unable to prime and/or maintain vigorous T cell responses which are required to clear the body of the viral infection. Dendritic cells (DCs) are the professional antigen presenting cells which likely play a dominant role in priming and maintaining vigorous T cell responses in HCV infection. Furthermore, inefficient DCs function may play an important role in progression to chronicity in HCV infection. A number of reports have been published examining the functional and phenotypic impairment of dendritic cells in chronic HCV infection. However, these reports are difficult to reconcile. In this article, studies examining the role and modulation/regulation of dendritic cells in HCV infection will be discussed. These elucidations are extremely important for the rational design of vaccine and/or immunotherapy strategies for chronic HCV infection.

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Keywords: Hepatitis C virus; T cells; dendritic cells; immune responses

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Current Immunology Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances in clinical immunology. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to clinical research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians in clinical immunology.
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