Tian Zhan-Fei, You Zhong-Lan, Hong Yi, Kuang Xue-Mei, Wang Yu-Ming
Background and aims. CD4+ T cells play an important role in response to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. We investigated the change in CD4+ T-cell subpopulations and viral load in patients with chronic HBV infection who were treated with entecavir. Material and methods. Thirty patients with chronic HBV infection were enrolled according to the criteria recommended by the Chinese Society of Infectious Diseases and the Chinese Society of Hepatology. The expressions of signature transcription factors and cytokines of CD4+ T-cell subpopulations were measured in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients treated with entecavir treatment. Results. Entecavir treatment significantly attenuated hepatitis B virus DNA load and affected the CD4+ T-cell subsets in CHB patients. A dramatic decrease in the Th17 and Treg cell frequencies and expressions of their related cytokines were found in CHB patients with entecavir treatment. In contrast, entecavir treatment caused a remarkable increase in the Th2 cell frequencies and expressions of their related cytokines. Conclusion. Our results suggested that Th17 and Treg cells were the more sensitive subtypes to entecavir- induced inhibition of HBV replication compared to Th1 and Th2 cells in chronic HBV patients.
Key words. Chronic HBV infection, Th1 cells, Th2 cells, Treg cells, Th17 cells