Hepatic immunopathology during occult hepacivirus re-infection.
Despite drug advances for Hepatitis C virus (HCV), re-infections remain prevalent in high-risk populations. Unfortunately, the role of preexisting viral immunity and how it modulates re-infection is unclear. GBV-B infection of common marmosets is a useful model to study tissue immune responses in hepacivirus infections, and in this study we re-challenged 4 animals after clearance of primary viremia. Although only low-to-absent viremia was observed following re-challenge, GBV-B viral RNA was detectable in liver, confirming re-infection. Microscopic hepatic lesions indicated severe-to-mild lymphocyte infiltration and fibrosis in 3 out of 4 animals. Further, GBV-B-specific T cells were elevated in animals with moderate-to-severe hepatopathology, and up to 3-fold increases in myeloid dendritic and activated natural killer cells were observed after infection. Our data indicate that occult hepacivirus re-infections occur and that new liver pathology is possible even in the presence of anti-hepacivirus T cells and in the absence of high viremia.
Manickam, C; Martinot, AJ; Jones, RA; Varner, V; Reeves, RK
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