HBeAg-positive individuals with chronic HBV infection are generally divided into two groups: immune-tolerant (IT) carriers and immune-activated (IA) patients. The former group is characterized by minimal liver damage, normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, and active viral
replication; the latter, generally after the IT phase, have increased liver injury and decreased viral replication.1, 20 In this study, we comprehensively characterized the hepatic NK cells in these HBV-infected individuals and demonstrated that NK cell–mediated liver pathogenesis Temsirolimus ic50 depended on an imbalanced cytokine milieu in the livers of these IA patients. Our findings may facilitate the rational development of immunotherapeutic strategies for enhancing viral control while limiting or blocking liver injury and inflammation. 7-AAD, 7-aminoactinomycin D; ALS, antilymphocyte serum; ALT, alanine aminotransferase; CFSE, carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester; CHB, chronic hepatitis
B; E:T, check details effector to target; FasL, Fas ligand; HAI, histological activity index; HBeAg, hepatitis B e antigen; HBV, hepatitis B virus; HC, healthy control; HCV, hepatitis C virus; HLA, human leukocyte antigen; hpf, high-power field; IA, immune-activated; IFN, interferon; IL, interleukin; IT, immune-tolerant; LIL, liver-infiltrating lymphocyte; MFI, mean fluorescence intensity; mRNA, messenger RNA; NCR, natural cytotoxicity receptor; NK, natural killer; NKG2A, natural killer group 2 member A; NKG2D, natural killer group 2 member D; NKT, natural killer T; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cell; PMA, phorbol myristate acetate; TRAIL, tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand. Fifty-one IA patients and 27 IT carriers were recruited for this study. All patients were diagnosed according to our previously described criteria21 and were not
taking antiviral therapy or immunosuppressive drugs within 6 months before the sampling. Twenty-six age-matched and sex-matched healthy individuals were enrolled as healthy controls (HCs). Individuals with a concurrent HCV, hepatitis D virus, or human immunodeficiency virus infection, an autoimmune liver disease, or alcoholic liver disease medchemexpress were excluded. The study protocol was approved by the ethics committee of our unit, and written informed consent was obtained from each subject. The basic characteristics of these enrolled subjects are listed in Supporting Information Table 1. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from all enrolled subjects. Liver biopsy samples were collected from 29 IA patients and 15 IT carriers, and 12 healthy liver tissue samples were obtained from healthy donors whose livers were used for transplantation.