Regulatory T cells in viral hepatitis

Eva Billerbeck, Tobias Böttler, Robert Thimme

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The pathogenesis and outcome of viral infections are significantly influenced by the host immune response. The immune system is able to eliminate many viruses in the acute phase of infection. However, some viruses, like hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), can evade the host immune responses and establish a persistent infection. HCV and HBV persistence is caused by various mechanisms, like subversion of innate immune responses by viral factors, the emergence of T cell escape mutations, or T cell dysfunction and suppression. Recently, it has become evident that regulatory T cells may contribute to the pathogenesis and outcome of viral infections by suppressing antiviral immune responses. Indeed, the control of HCV and HBV specific immune responses mediated by regulatory T cells may be one mechanism that favors viral persistence, but it may also prevent the host from overwhelming T cell activity and liver damage. This review will focus on the role of regulatory T cells in viral hepatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4858-4864
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 28 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Immuno-regulation
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Viral hepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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