Background/Aims: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains the most common cause of chronic liver disease in Egypt. Despite the high prevalence of HCV and Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni) in Egypt, the effect of co-infection on the immune response against HCV genotype 4a has not been extensively examined.
Methods: We evaluated the HCV 4a-specific responses against the core and non-structural 5B proteins in chronic HCV with or without S. mansoni co-infection in 38 volunteers from Egypt.
Results: HCV 4a-specific responses were detected in 8/15 and 13/23 individuals with HCV alone or with concomitant schistosomiasis, respectively. Despite the alteration in the Th1 cytokine profile caused by schistosomiasis, the overall immune response rate against HCV was not affected (P=0.11). Seven individuals demonstrated HCV-specific responses against conserved regions of the Core that were previously identified for genotypes 1, 2 and 3 despite differences in HLA class I distribution.
Conclusions: Egyptian patients infected with HCV genotype 4 can mount HCV-specific T cell responses, both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell-mediated, despite the prevalence of concomitant schistosomiasis. These findings suggest that S. mansoni co-infection may not represent a major obstacle to developing an HCV vaccine in this population.
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Accepted: October 2, 2003
Received in revised form: September 19, 2003
Received: March 19, 2003
☆Note: The opinions and assertions expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Navy, the US Department of Defense, the US Government, or the Egyptian Ministry of Health.
© 2003 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.