Background: Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have a fundamental job in keeping up a harmony between forestalling immunopathology and enabling the insusceptible reaction to clear infections, in HCV infection, elevation of Tregs may cause insistent HCV infection.
Objective: The current work aimed to clarify the immunomodulatory role of CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ Tregs in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients.
Subjects and methods: This study incorporated two groups: 50 patients with chronic HCV infection of different classes of Child-Pugh classification (Child A, B and C) and control group; 25 healthy subjects. All patients were exposed to full history taking and finish clinical examination, as well as routine lab analysis including CBC, AST, ALT, ALP, GGT, PT, INR, blood urea, serum creatinine, ANA. HCV-Abs was measured for both patients and controls groups. Viral load was determined for patients group by HCV-RNA PCR. Immunophenotyping of CD4+ CD25+ FoxP3+ regulatory Treg cells were performed by flow Cytometry for patients and controls groups.
Results: There was expansion of CD4+25+ FOXP3+ Treg lymphocytes in CHC patients compared with controls with significant difference. Furthermore, there was a highly significant decline in the average of CD4+25+ FOXP3+Treg lymphocytes amongst the 3 different classes of Child-Pugh classification of CHC patients on relating to the control. There were significant correlations between CD4+25+ FOXP3+Treg lymphocytes and liver fibrosis.
Conclusion: There is marked increased level of CD4+25+ FOXP3+Treg lymphocytes among CHC patients, in addition to, the 3 different classes of Child-Pugh classification. This might confirm the immunomodulatory role by CD4+25+ FOXP3+Treg during chronic HCV infection that it might contribute to the immune response failure.