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Expression of Natural Killer Cell Inhibitory Receptors is Associated with Significant Liver Injury in Chronic Hepatitis C in Children

Anna Mania, Mariusz Kaczmarek, Pawel Kemnitz, Magdalena Figlerowicz, Jan Sikora, Wojciech Sluzewski, Jan Zeromski


Introduction and aim. Natural Killer (NK) cells play an important role in innate immune response to viral infections and their high proportion is situated in the liver. The aim of this study was to analyze possible relation between the expression of NK cell receptors and varied intensity of liver lesions in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in children. Material and methods. Study included 105 children with CHC - 54 boys and 51 girls, age 13.62 ± 3.48 years. Blood specimens were taken at the day of the liver biopsy. Histological evaluation was performed according to METAVIR scoring system. Circulating NK cells were evaluated by flow cytometry. The results were shown as a proportion of cells expressing evaluated receptor and its' mean fluorescent intensity (MFI). Results. In 58 children with CHC (55.2%) significant liver fibrosis was observed ( ≥F2). Higher proportion of cells expressing CD158e inhibitory receptors was observed in the group of children with ALT > 2UNL (21.11 ± 14.60 vs. 12.22 ± 8.99%; p = 0.037). While higher proportion of cells expressing inhibitory CD158b receptor was observed in children with significant fibrosis (F ≥ 2) compared to minimal fibrosis (F < 2) - (34.14 ± 12.44 vs. 27.48 ± 8.71%; p = 0.049). Children with advanced fibrosis (F ≥ 3) had higher MFI of NK cell CD 158b receptor than children with fibrosis scored F < 3 - (5344.20 ± 3407.49 vs. 2979.67 ± 1190.64; p = 0.049). Proportion of NK cells expressing CD158b was found a predictor of significant fibrosis in univariate analysis - [OR 1.065; 95%CI (1.07-1.15); p = 0.046]. Conclusions. Higher proportion of NK cells expressing inhibitory CD158b and CD158e receptors is associated with significant liver injury.

Key words. Liver inflammation., Fibrosis., Steatosis., Innate immunity.

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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