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Immune Response in Viral Hepatitis C: the Role of Natural Killer Cells. P. 68–78

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Section: Biology




Davidovich Nataliya Valer’evna
Northern State Medical University (Arkhangelsk, Russia)
Solov’eva Nataliya Vladislavovna
Northern State Medical University (Arkhangelsk, Russia)


The immune response in hepatitis C is polyclonal and multispecific. A large number of studies of humoral and cellular components of immune system functioning in hepatitis C are undertaken. However, to date the most of the focus is on the research of the natural killer cell (NKs) function. NK is a special lymphocyte population of the innate immune system, making a figure in antiviral immunity. This review presents the modern data of national and foreign literature concerning the NK role in each stage of hepatitis C virus (HCV), starting with protection against the introduction of HCV infection and resolution in the acute phase up to the persistent infection. It describes the role of NK as the innate effector cells with an integral role in the immune response in the hepatitis C virus due to the direct cytolytic effect on infected cells, as well as the indirect effect due to the response of cytokines such as IFN-γ. The paper presents data of the main classes of activating and inhibitory receptors and coreceptors of NK, which compound with various ligands presented on the surface of target cells generates the activating or inhibiting NK signals. We present the up-to-date information about the phenotypic subsets of NK (regulatory and effector) and the impact of their redistribution in the peripheral blood to determine the outcome of chronic HCV-infection. The paper also demonstrates bidirectional interaction between NK cells and dendritic cells, required for priming, activation and expansion of T-cell immune response.


natural killer cells, immune response, hepatitis C
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