HCV-specific lymphocyte responses in individuals with positive anti-HCV but negative HCV-RNA

SİLİ U., Kaya A., Aydin S., Hondur N., MERT A., Tabak F., ...More

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL VIROLOGY, vol.67, pp.73-77, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 67
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jcv.2015.04.014
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.73-77
  • Keywords: HCV, T-lymphocyte, Spontaneous recovery, ELISPOT, False-positive serology
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) status cannot be reliably predicted in anti-HCV positive/HCV-RNA negative individuals who may either have recovered spontaneously or have a false-positive test due to antibody cross-reaction. Investigating T lymphocyte responses in individuals with different HCV status may help understand the cellular immune mechanisms underlying spontaneous recovery, treatment response, and chronicity. Objective: We aimed to determine whether anti-HCV positive, HCV-RNA negative individuals are truly spontaneous recoverers from acute HCV infection. Study design: We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay to compare HCV-specific lymphocyte response among anti-HCV positive/HCV-RNA negative individuals, patients with sustained virological response to interferon-γ/ribavirin treatment, and patients with chronic HCV infection. Results: We found that 83% of anti-HCV positive/HCV-RNA negative individuals without a past medical history of acute icteric hepatitis had an HCV-specific T lymphocyte response in peripheral blood. Lymphocyte responses in these individuals were similar in magnitude to treatment responders unlike patients with chronic HCV whose virus-directed immunity was significantly suppressed. Conclusions: Detection of HCV-specific T lymphocyte responses using ELISPOT is a feasible method to ascertain past asymptomatic acute HCV infection.