Interleukin-37 suppresses the cytotoxicity of hepatitis B virus peptides-induced CD8+ T cells in patients with acute hepatitis B
Keywords:Hepatitis B virus, acute infection, CD8 T cells, cytotoxicity, interleukin-37
Interleukin-37 (IL-37) is a newly identified anti-inflammatory cytokine, owning immunosuppressive activity in infectious diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the regulatory function of IL-37 on CD8+ T cells during hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Eighteen acute hepatitis B (AHB) patients, thirty-nine chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients, and twenty controls were enrolled. IL-37 concentration was measured by ELISA. IL-37 receptor subunits expressions on CD8+ T cells were assessed by flow cytometry. Purified CD8+ T cells were stimulated with HBV peptides and recombinant IL-37. Perforin and granzyme B secretion was investigated by ELISPOT. Programmed death-1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein-4 (CTLA-4) mRNA expressions were semi-quantified by real-time PCR. CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity was assessed in direct contact and indirect contact coculture with HepG2.2.15 cells. Plasma IL-37 level was down-regulated and negatively correlated with aminotransferase levels in AHB patients. There were no significant differences of IL-37 receptor subunits among AHB patients, CHB patients, and controls. Exogenous IL-37 stimulation suppressed HBV peptides-induced perforin and granzyme B secretion by CD8+ T cells in AHB patients, but not in CHB patients. Exogenous IL-37 stimulation did not affect proinflammatory cytokines secretion as well as PD-1/CTLA-4 mRNA expressions in CD8+ T cells in AHB and CHB patients. Exogenous IL-37 stimulation dampened HBV peptide-induced CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity in a cell-to-cell contact manner. The current data indicated that acute HBV infection might induce down-regulation of IL-37, which might be associated with enhanced CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity and liver damage.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Qian Liu, Qiang Zhou, Mingrui Wang, Bo Pang
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