Immunopathogenesis of hepatitis B virus recurrence after liver transplantation

G Marinos, S Rossol, P Carucci, P Y N Wong, P Donaldson, M J Hussain, D Vergani, B C Portmann, R Williams, N V Naoumov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Background and aims. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) recurrence after orthotopic liver transplantation is associated with inflammatory graft changes, despite immunosuppression and donor/recipient HLA mismatch. We investigated whether immune mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of hepatitis B after liver transplantation. Methods. The virus-specific T helper (Th) cell response, activation of Th1/Th2 subpopulations, donor/recipient HLA, and expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha/TNF receptors were determined in 28 patients who underwent transplantation for HBV-related cirrhosis (17 with HBV recurrence and 11 without recurrence) in comparison to 30 nontransplant patients with chronic hepatitis B. Results. Orthotopic liver transplantation recipients with HBV recurrence showed significant hepatitis B core antigen-specific T-cell proliferation, comparable to nontransplant patients, which was not present in transplant recipients without recurrence. In addition, hepatic and serum interleukin (IL)-2, interferon-gamma, and TNF-alpha were enhanced, without changes in IL-4 and IL-10. Phenotypically, hepatic infiltrates in allografts with HBV recurrence were comprised of CD4(+) lymphocytes and macrophages with a correlation between interferon-gamma- and TNF-alpha-producing cells and the degree of necroinflammatory activity. There was a marked up-regulation of both TNF-alpha receptors, significantly greater than in nontransplant patients. Conclusions. These findings suggest that despite immunosuppression, HLA class I-independent immune mechanisms have a significant pathogenic role in liver damage associated with HBV recurrence after liver transplantation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)559 - 568
    Number of pages10
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2000


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