Monocyte derived dendritic cells retain their functional capacity in patients following infection with hepatitis C virus.
Barnes E., Salio M., Cerundolo V., Francesco L., Pardoll D., Klenerman P., Cox A.
Studies assessing the function of monocyte derived dendritic cells (MD-DC) in individuals with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have shown conflicting results. Impaired MD-DC function in chronic HCV infection would have important implications both for understanding the pathogenesis of HCV infection and in the use of autologous MD-DC in vaccination strategies. We determined the allostimulatory capacity of MD-DC in the same patient before and after HCV infection. Next, the phenotype, cytokine production and allostimulatory function of immature and mature MD-DC in individuals with persistent HCV infection were compared directly with MD-DC from healthy individuals. Finally, we assessed the ability of MD-DC to prime autologous naïve peptide specific CD8+ T cells using HLA-A2 class-I tetramers. DCs retained the same allostimulatory capacity before and following the establishment of persistent HCV infection. The surface phenotype and the amount of interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-12(p70) produced during DC maturation did not differ between HCV-infected individuals and healthy controls. Mature DCs from HCV-infected individuals performed comparably in an allogeneic MLR compared with healthy individuals. Mature MD-DC from HCV-infected individuals stimulated the expansion of peptide specific naïve CD8+ T cells. MD-DC from HCV-infected and healthy individuals are phenotypically indistinguishable and perform comparably in functional assays.