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Title: Modulation of innate immune responses by hepatitis C virus
Author: Huston, Leila
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 7329
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) establishes a chronic infection in about 70% of infected individuals that is associated with the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The mechanisms by which HCV avoids clearance by the host immune response are not fully understood. The first aim of this project was to determine whether immune cell subsets could become infected by HCV in vitro. None of the haematopoietic subsets analysed expressed all of the required entry factors, CD81, SR-BI, claudin-1 and occludin. Also, PBMCs were not susceptible to infection with HCVpp and HCVcc expressing glycoproteins of hepatotropic strains. Infection by a supposedly lymphotropic strain (SB) was found to be inefficient. The second aim was to identify in vitro immunomodulatory effects of HCV on innate immune cells that may impact on the immune response activated in acute infection. Crosslinking of CD81 on NK cells by antibody was found to have a minor inhibitory effect on their activation via CD16, but CD81 crosslinking by viral particles had no detectable effect. In contrast to other viruses, HCVcc elicited very little interferon-α production by pDC. HCVcc also did not affect pDC or mDC responses to TLR ligation. Systemic cytokine and chemokine responses were analysed in subjects with primary acute HCV infection and in HCV-infected patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT). Interestingly, induction of systemic type I and type III interferon was not observed in either group. Marked perturbations in systemic cytokine and chemokine levels were detected in uninfected LT patients, precluding use of HCV-infected LT patients to study the innate immune response activated in response to acute viral replication. Together, these results suggest that HCV may principally evade innate immune cell responses by avoidance rather than impairment strategies.
Supervisor: Borrow, Persephone ; Klenerman, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; hepatitis c virus ; lymphotropism ; dendritic cells ; toll-like receptors ; interferon ; natural killer cells ; liver transplantation