3 years ago

TCF1+ hepatitis C virus-specific CD8+ T cells are maintained after cessation of chronic antigen stimulation

TCF1+ hepatitis C virus-specific CD8+ T cells are maintained after cessation of chronic antigen stimulation
Werner Held, Robert Thimme, Anita Schuch, Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, Janine Kemming, Percy Knolle, Dominik Wieland, Florian Emmerich, Dietmar Zehn, Maike Hofmann
Differentiation and fate of virus-specific CD8+ T cells after cessation of chronic antigen stimulation is unclear. Here we show that a TCF1+CD127+PD1+ hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific CD8+ T-cell subset exists in chronically infected patients with phenotypic features of T-cell exhaustion and memory, both before and after treatment with direct acting antiviral (DAA) agents. This subset is maintained during, and for a long duration after, HCV elimination. After antigen re-challenge the less differentiated TCF1+CD127+PD1+ population expands, which is accompanied by emergence of terminally exhausted TCF1-CD127-PD1hi HCV-specific CD8+ T cells. These results suggest the TCF1+CD127+PD1+ HCV-specific CD8+ T-cell subset has memory-like characteristics, including antigen-independent survival and recall proliferation. We thus provide evidence for the establishment of memory-like virus-specific CD8+ T cells in a clinically relevant setting of chronic viral infection and we uncover their fate after cessation of chronic antigen stimulation, implicating a potential strategy for antiviral immunotherapy.

Publisher URL: http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15050

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15050

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