Fratricide of HBV-specific CD8 T cells by NK cells mediated through the TRAIL pathway

April 01, 2011

A new study presented today at the International Liver CongressTM shows a novel pathway where activated natural killer (NK) cells expressing death ligands may excessively down-modulate the antiviral immune response in chronic HBV patients.1

Blocking the TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway partially reconstitutes HBV-specific T cells, suggesting that these cells are vulnerable to NK cell-mediated apoptosis through this death ligand pathway.

NK cells are one of the main effectors of the innate immune response that plays a key role in containing intracellular pathogen infections. However, it has been increasingly recognised that NK cells may also exert a pathogenic and negative regulatory role during chronic disease.

1. Peppa, D. et al. Fratricide of HBV-specific CD8 T cells by NK cells mediated through the TRAIL pathway. Abstract presented at The International Liver CongressTM 2011.

European Association for the Study of the Liver

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