Acute infection with a single hepatitis C virus strain in dialysis patients: Analysis of adaptive immune response and viral variability

Lukas Weseslindtner, Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, Sergei Viazov, Anita Haberstroh, Josef Kletzmayr, Judith H. Aberle, Joerg Timm, Stefan R. Ross, Renate Klauser-Braun, Thomas F. Baumert, Michael Roggendorf, Robert Thimme, Heidemarie Holzmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: While the adaptive immune response is crucial for spontaneous resolution of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, it also constitutes the driving force for viral escape. For acutely HCV-infected dialysis patients, little is known about the host response and its impact on viral evolution. Methods: Four haemodialysis patients accidentally infected with the same HCV strain were prospectively investigated with respect to the clinical course, CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses, neutralizing antibodies, viral kinetics and sequence variability. Results: In one patient, a robust CD4+ T-cell response was associated with transient control of infection, while in the other patients, weak responses correlated with persistently high viremia. Despite the presence of CD8+ T-cell effectors in the first patient, no sequence differences were detected in targeted regions of the viral genome in any of the patients when viral persistence was established. Genetic stability in the envelope genes, including the hypervariable regions, correlated with low-level or absent neutralizing antibodies in all of the patients. Conclusions: The establishment of viral persistence in the special patient group of dialysis patients is due to a failure of the adaptive immune system, as shown by the absence of significant T-cell and antibody responses, as well as viral variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-704
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute hepatitis C
  • CD4
  • CD8
  • Dialysis
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Immune response
  • Neutralizing antibodies
  • T-cells
  • Viral variability
  • Virus host interaction


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