Cellular surface expression of CD81 (an essential co-receptor for HCV) is critical for successful HCV infection. Furthermore, CD81 cross-linking with HCV-E2 protein impedes activation signaling pathways in different lymphocytes (T-cells, B -cells and NK cells). The expression of CD81 on peripheral lymphocytes is known to be downregulated following successful dual anti-HCV therapy. On the other hands, no reports are yet available regarding its expression levels following the newly used treatment regimen in Egypt; direct-acting antivirals (DAAs): Sofosubvir & daclatsvir for three months. Thus, the aim of the current study was to evaluate the expression levels of CD81 on T and B lymphocytes in HCV-infected patients before and after successful treatment with DAAs. Cellular CD81 expression was measured on CD3+ (T lymphocytes) and CD19+ (B Lymphocytes) lymphocytes by flow cytometry from 19 patients with chronic HCV infection.

All the HCV viruses were of genotype 4. We found no correlation between CD81 expression on either CD3+ or CD19+ lymphocytes and viral load. The expression of CD81 on CD19+ lymphocytes was markedly reduced at the end of the treatment. On the contrary, CD81 was significantly increased on CD3+ lymphocytes following successful treatment.

Our data indicate that successful treatment of HCV infection is associated with a reduction in surface CD81 expression on B lymphocytes with a concomitant increase on T lymphocytes.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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