A study of some hepatic immunological markers, iron load and virus genotype in chronic hepatitis C

Elsa Maria Cardoso, Miguel Angelo Duarte, Eduarda Ribeiro, Pedro Rodrigues, Rolf Hultcrantz, Paula Sampaio, Rachel Ehrlich, João Carvalho, José Fraga, Maria De Sousa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background/Aims Host factors that may influence progression of hepatitis C infection to chronic hepatitis include T-cell responses and iron accumulation. We evaluated the hepatic expression of immunological markers relevant for a cytotoxic response in relation to viral and HFE genotype. Methods Frozen liver biopsies were obtained at diagnosis from 28 HFE genotyped patients. Sections stained for CD8, MHC-I, β2m, HFE and CD68 were analyzed blind by morphometry. Response to therapy was available in 12 cases. Results A negative correlation was found between the number of CD8+ cells and fibrosis. CD8+ cells localized as clusters in portal tracts and sinusoids and were seen interacting with MHC-I positive lining cells. MHC-I and β2m were expressed mainly in the endothelial and Kupffer cells. HFE was expressed in most, but not all, round and dendritic CD68+ cells. Patients with virus genotype 3a had higher hepatic MHC-I and HFE expression, and a better-sustained response to IFN therapy than other patients. Conclusions In chronic hepatitis C virus infection MHC-I expression in the liver seems to relate to viral-genotype. In addition, the expression of MHC-I molecules by Kupffer cells places them as probable important players in the host response to HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004


FundersFunder number
INNOVA Foundation
European CommissionQLG1-CT-1999-00665


    • HFE
    • Hepatitis C virus
    • IFN
    • Liver
    • MHC-I


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