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      Lack of Effect of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection on T-Cell Cytokine Production in Chronic Hemodialysis Patients

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          It has been shown that chronic hemodialysis modifies, to some extent, the normal immune response by both T and B lymphocytes elicited by antigenic stimulation, e.g. by impairing the T-cell-dependent response after vaccination. A new technique, i.e. flow cytometry, enables to assess intracytoplasmically, at the single cell level, the production of a given cytokine. By using it, we studied in healthy volunteers (HV) and in chronic hemodialysis (CHD) patients, with respect to their hepatitis C virus (HCV) status, the production by the T lymphocytes of type 1, and type 2 cytokines. We studied the following cytokines (CK): IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IFN-γ and TNF-α in the T-cell lymphocytes (whole, CD4+ and CD8+). There were 13 HV and 59 CHD patients (36 HCV(–) and 23 HCV(+)). Amongst the latter, there were 32 men and 27 women, aged 59.5 ± 2 years, undergoing CHD since 70 ± 9.4 months. We found that: (1) the total number of lymphocytes as well as those expressing CD3, CD4, or CD19 were significantly decreased in CHD patients as compared to those from HV; (2) the total number of lymphocytes as well as their different subsets were similar in HCV(+) and in HCV(–) CHD patients; (3) the frequency of T-cell-expressing IL-5 or IL-10 was always low (<1%) in both HV and CHD groups; (4) overall in CHD patients, the mean percentages of T lymphocytes expressing IL-2, IL-4, IFN-γ or TNF-α were respectively 31 ± 13, 2.5 ± 1.3, 28 ± 12 and 34 ± 11% and were not statistically different between HCV(+) and HCV(–) patients; (5) IL-2 was mainly produced by CD4+ T cells, whereas IFN-γ was produced by CD8+ T cells, in both HV and CHD groups, and (6) the lymphocytes of CHD patients produced significantly more IL-2 and IL-4 than those from HV, suggesting an activation of their T lymphocytes. We conclude that using the cytokine flow cytometry assay, our study demonstrated that in HCV(+) CHD patients, as opposed to what has been described for HCV(+) patients with normal renal function, there was no impairment in the production of type 1 cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells when compared to HCV(–) CHD patients. Conversely to HV, T lymphocytes from CHD patients are activated.

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          Most cited references 3

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          Ribavirin polarizes human T cell responses towards a Type 1 cytokine profile.

           R. Tam,  B. Pai,  J. Bard (1999)
          The therapeutic benefit of ribavirin, a nucleoside analog, in the treatment of chronic HCV infection is seen even in the absence of any apparent direct antiviral effect. We surmised that ribavirin may act by eliciting altered virus-specific immune responses. Because antiviral immunity is predominantly mediated by cytotoxic T cells and antiviral cytokines, we sought to determine whether ribavirin could promote antiviral (Type 1) cytokine expression in human T cells. Isolated human T cells were activated in vitro with enterotoxin B or with phorbol ester plus ionomycin. Cytokine ELISAs were performed on culture supernatants, cytokine mRNA was detected following RT-polymerase chain reaction of T cell RNA, and T cell proliferation measured using MTT assay. Ribavirin enhanced a Type 1 (IL-2, IFNgamma, TNFalpha) while suppressing a Type 2 cytokine response (IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10), at the level of both protein and mRNA expression. Ribavirin mediated comparable effects on cytokine expression both following activation of specific T cell subpopulations with superantigen and following activation of a larger percentage of T cells via pharmacologic means. The in vitro effect on cytokine expression following ribavirin treatment was comparable in both CD4+ or CD8+ T cell subsets and was observed in a dose range that promoted T cell proliferation. These data support the view that ribavirin promotes a Type 1 cytokine-mediated immune response, a property which may account in part for its ability to enhance the antiviral activity of interferon-alpha in the treatment of chronic HCV infection.
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            Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of interferon α-2b with and without ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C

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              Differences in Type 1 and Type 2 intracytoplasmic cytokines, detected by flow cytometry, according to immunosuppression (cyclosporine A vs. tacrolimus) in stable renal allograft recipients.

              Recent multicenter, randomized clinical trials have shown that in renal transplant patients tacrolimus (FK506) was more efficient than cyclosporine A (CsA) at preventing acute rejection. In order to try and evaluate whether this difference was related to a different in vivo T-cell suppression we assessed, in a prospective study, the frequencies of interleukin (IL)-2-, IL-4-, IL-5-, IL-6-, IL-10-, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)- and double-positive IL-2/IFN-gamma-producing whole T cells, CD4 + and CD8 + T-cell subsets by means of cytokine flow cytometry. This was performed after in vitro stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and ionomycin, in the presence of monensin, in 14 healthy volunteers (controls) and in 14 renal transplant patients. The immunosuppression of the latter was based either on CsA (n = 7) or on FK506 (n = 7). Cytokine-expressing T-cell frequencies were assessed immediately pretransplantation (DO), and subsequently 3 months (M3) and 6 months (M6) afterwards in fasting patients prior to the morning intake of the immunosuppressive drug. We found that at DO the frequencies of IL-2-(22 +/- 2% vs. 22.2 +/- 2%), IFN-gamma-(26 +/- 3% vs. 29 + 3.4%) and IL-4-(0.8 +/- 0.2% vs. 1.4 +/- 0.2%)-expressing T lymphocytes were not significantly different between the controls and the patients, respectively. Conversely, the frequency of IL-2/IFN-gamma double positive cells was higher in the latter (9.3 +/- 1.6%) than in the controls (5.6 +/- 0.8); p = 0.06. Finally, on D0 the frequencies of IL-5-, IL-6-, and IL-10-producing T lymphocytes were lower than 1%, in both groups, as well as after grafting, i.e. on M3 and M6. As compared to baseline (DO): (a) chronic immunosuppression significantly decreased the frequencies of IL-2-, IL-4- and IL-2/IFN-gamma-expressing T cells, whereas those of IFN-gamma, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-10 were not significantly affected; (b) the frequencies of cytokine-expressing T cells were not statistically different between M3 and M6; (c) the decrease in the frequencies of IL-2- and IL-2/IFN-gamma-expressing T cells affected CD4 + and CD8 + cells equally; (d) there was a marginal decrease in the frequency of IFN-gamma-expressing cells only in the CD4 + subset but not in the CD8 population; and (e) for CsA, but not for FK506, the frequency of the IL-2-expressing T cells was negatively correlated with the whole blood trough levels. When we compared the frequencies of cytokine-expressing cells in FK506- and CsA-treated patients, we found that the frequency of IL-2-expressing T cells was significantly lower with FK506 (10.9+/-1.61%) than with CsA (16.3 +/- 1.8%; p = 0.03), whereas the frequencies of the other cytokine-expressing cells were not statistically different between the two groups. In conclusion, our study clearly demonstrated that studied ex vivo, FK506 and CsA decrease the frequencies of cells expressing IL-2, IL-4 and IL-2/IFN-gamma in vivo but do not affect those expressing IFN-gamma. Meanwhile, the frequency of IL-2-producing T cells was more affected with FK506 than with CsA and was negatively correlated with the CsA trough level. Finally, our results regarding IL-2 might explain to some extent the higher efficiency of FK506 in vivo than CsA.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                June 2001
                25 June 2001
                : 21
                : 3
                : 194-199
                aNephrology, Hemodialysis and Multiorgan Transplant Unit and bLaboratory of Immunology, Toulouse University Hospital, Toulouse, France
                46247 Am J Nephrol 2001;21:194–199
                © 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 4, References: 30, Pages: 6
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/46247
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