Direct, help-independent priming of CD8+ T cells by adeno-associated virus–transduced hepatocytes


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


Both hepatitis B and C viruses frequently establish chronic infection, raising the question whether T cells are poorly primed in the liver. To determine the role of different cell types in the activation of CD8+ T cells against hepatocellular antigens, we used an Adeno-associated virus to deliver ovalbumin to hepatocytes. In contrast to CD8+ T cells, CD4+ T cells were not activated. The CD8+ T cells were activated even in the absence of endogenous CD4+ T cells; however, in the liver, these cells were high in the programmed death-1 protein and low in CD127. Chimera experiments revealed that these CD8+ T cells were activated on a solid tissue cell. Conclusion: Priming of CD8+ T cells directly on nonhematopoietic cells, in the absence of CD4+ T cell help, results in suboptimal T cell activation. This could explain the impaired function of CD8+ T cells seen in chronic liver infection. (HEPATOLOGY 2010)