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Increased IL-17-producing CD8+ T cell frequency predicts short-term mortality in patients with hepatitis B virus-related acute-on-chronic liver failure

Authors Zhang GL, Zhang T, Zhao QY, Xie C, Lin CS, Gao ZL

Received 21 August 2018

Accepted for publication 2 October 2018

Published 30 October 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2127—2136

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S184809

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Deyun Wang


Geng-lin Zhang,1,2,* Ting Zhang,3,* Qi-yi Zhao,1,2 Chan Xie,1,2 Chao-shuang Lin,1,2 Zhi-liang Gao1,2,4

1Department of Infectious Diseases, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; 2Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Liver Disease, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; 3Department of Ultrasound, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; 4Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Control, Sun Yat-sen University, Ministry of Education, Guangzhou, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: IL-17-producing CD8+ T (Tc17) cells promote inflammation and have been identified in chronic hepatitis. However, the role of Tc17 cells in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (HBV-ACLF) remains unclear.
Methods: The frequency of Tc17 cells in blood samples from 66 patients with HBV-ACLF was determined by flow cytometry. The levels of Tc17 cell-related cytokines were measured by FlowCytomix assays. The prognostic prediction accuracy was evaluated by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Survival was analyzed using Kaplan–Meier curves. Mortality predictors were determined by the Cox regression analysis.
Results: The frequency of Tc17 cells was markedly higher in patients with HBV-ACLF than in those with chronic hepatitis B and normal control subjects. Increased frequencies of Tc17 cells may indicate liver injury and were positively correlated with disease severity. The Tc17 cell frequency was significantly higher in non-surviving patients with HBV-ACLF than in surviving patients. The ROC curve analysis showed that Tc17 cell frequency accurately predicted 90-day survival in patients with HBV-ACLF, with an accuracy equivalent to those of the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD), MELD-Na, and Chronic Liver Failure Consortium ACLF scores. Kaplan–Meier analysis showed an association between the increase in circulating Tc17 cells and poor overall survival in patients with HBV-ACLF. Moreover, the multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that Tc17 cell frequency was an independent predictor of overall survival in patients with HBV-ACLF.
Conclusion: Tc17 cells may play a proinflammatory role in HBV-ACLF pathogenesis. Furthermore, the increased frequency of circulating Tc17 cells could be an independent prognostic biomarker in patients with HBV-ACLF.

Keywords: liver disease, inflammation, prognosis, T cells

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