HCV-specific lymphocyte responses in individuals with positive anti-HCV but negative HCV-RNA
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CitationSili, U., Kaya, A., Aydın, S., Hondur, N., Mert, A., Tabak, F. ... Öztürk, R. (2015). HCV-specific lymphocyte responses in individuals with positive anti-HCV but negative HCV-RNA. Journal of Clinical Virology, 67, 73-77. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2015.04.014
Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) status cannot be reliably predicted in anti-HCV positive/HCV-RNA negative individuals who may either have recovered spontaneously or have a false-positive test due to antibody cross-reaction. Investigating T lymphocyte responses in individuals with different HCV status may help understand the cellular immune mechanisms underlying spontaneous recovery, treatment response, and chronicity. Objective: We aimed to determine whether anti-HCV positive, HCV-RNA negative individuals are truly spontaneous recoverers from acute HCV infection. Study design: We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay to compare HCV-specific lymphocyte response among anti-HCV positive/HCV-RNA negative individuals, patients with sustained virological response to interferon-gamma/ribavirin treatment, and patients with chronic HCV infection. Results: We found that 83% of anti-HCV positive/HCV-RNA negative individuals without a past medical history of acute icteric hepatitis had an HCV-specific T lymphocyte response in peripheral blood. Lymphocyte responses in these individuals were similar in magnitude to treatment responders unlike patients with chronic HCV whose virus-directed immunity was significantly suppressed. Conclusions: Detection of HCV-specific T lymphocyte responses using ELISPOT is a feasible method to ascertain past asymptomatic acute HCV infection.