T cell mechanisms in the immunopathogenesis of vital hepatitis B and C

S. L. Tsai*, S. N. Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

31 Scopus citations


Considerable evidence suggests that immune mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of both hepatitis B and C. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses to viral antigens are important mechanisms that may be responsible for the hepatocyte damage in hepatitis B and C. CD4+ T cell proliferative responses to hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) in terms of stimulation index are correlated with hepatitis activity. These responses can be demonstrated in both adult and paediatric patients, and are more vigorous in patients with acute self-limited hepatitis B than in patients with chronic hepatitis B. Patients with hepatitis C also had a significant CD4+ T cell response to hepatitis C virus (HCV) antigens. These responses are also vigorous in acute hepatitis C with recovery than in those cases that evolve to chronic hepatitis C. In terms of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) class I-restricted, CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response, antigenic peptides derived from HBcAg, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and polymerase have been demonstrated as the targets for CTL recognition in hepatitis B patients. Multiple CTL epitopes within both HBsAg and HBcAg can be detected by sensitizing target cells with synthetic peptides. Similar to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, multi-specific, HCV-specific CTL responses can coexist with an extensive quasispecies of viral variants. The mechanisms of viral persistence in both hepatitis B and C are not yet clarified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S227-S235
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytotoxic T lymphocyte
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • MHC-restriction
  • T cell epitope
  • T cell response


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