Background. Intrahepatic lymphocytes are believed to be directly involved in the immunopathogenesis of chronic liver diseases. Little is known about the trafficking of lymphocytes into the liver and their role in chronic hepatitis C infection. Methods. The expression of 4 chemokine receptors and an activation marker on multiple lymphocyte subsets in paired liver biopsy and peripheral blood specimens from 23 patients with chronic hepatitis C infection were analyzed by a 6-color flow-cytometric assay. Results. CCR5, CXCR3, and CXCR6 were expressed on intrahepatic CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, natural killer (NK) T cells, NK cells, and B cells at significantly higher frequencies than on peripheral lymphocyte subsets. The expression of these receptors and the activation marker CD38 tended to increase with the severity of liver inflammation. This increase was significant for several intrahepatic lymphocytes subsets. Correlations in expression differed among pairs of these extralymphoid homing receptors on the intrahepatic T cells. Conclusions. The homing program for intrahepatic lymphocytes involves multiple extralymphoid chemokine receptors that are regulated by >1 pathway. The expression of homing receptors on intrahepatic lymphocytes is associated with the immunopathogenesis of chronic hepatitis C disease. These preliminary results indicate that confirmational studies with larger sample sizes are warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health