Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology

Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology
Open Access

ISSN: 2155-9899

+44 1223 790975


Host Genetic Factors and Dendritic Cell Responses Associated with the Outcome of Interferon/Ribavirin Treatment in HIV-1/HCV Co-Infected Individuals

Mohit Sehgal, Marija Zeremski, Andrew H. Talal, Zafar K. Khan, Renold Capocasale, Ramila Philip and Pooja Jain

HIV-1/HCV co-infection is a significant health problem. Highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) against HIV-1 has proved to be fairly successful. On the other hand, direct acting antiviral drugs against HCV have improved cure rates but high cost and development of drug resistance are important concerns. Therefore PEGylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) still remain essential components of HCV treatment, and identification of host factors that predict IFN/RBV treatment response is necessary for effective clinical management of HCV infection. Impaired dendritic cell (DC) and T cell responses are associated with HCV persistence. It has been shown that IFN/RBV treatment enhances HCV- specific T cell functions and it is likely that functional restoration of DCs is the underlying cause. To test this hypothesis, we utilized an antibody cocktail (consisting of DC maturation, adhesion and other surface markers) to perform comprehensive phenotypic characterization of myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in a cohort of HIV-1/HCV co-infected individuals undergoing IFN/RBV treatment. Our results show that pre-treatment frequencies of mDCs are lower in non-responders (NRs) compared to responders (SVRs) and healthy controls. Although, the treatment was able to restore the frequency of mDCs in NRs, it downregulated the frequency of CCR7+, CD54+ and CD62L+ mDCs. Pre-treatment frequencies of pDCs were lower in NRs and decreased further upon treatment. Compared to SVRs, NRs exhibited higher ratio of PD-L1+/CD86+ pDCs prior to treatment; and this ratio remained high even after treatment. These findings demonstrate that enumeration and phenotypic assessment of DCs before/during therapy can help predict the treatment outcome. We also show that before treatment, PBMCs from SVRs secrete higher amounts of IFN-γ compared to controls and NRs. Upon genotyping IFNL3 polymorphisms rs12979860, rs4803217 and ss469415590, we found rs12979860 to be a better predictor of treatment outcome. Collectively, our study led to identification of important correlates of IFN/RBV treatment response in HIV-1/HCV coinfected individuals.