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Keywords:

  • CD4+CD25+Treg;
  • CD8 Treg;
  • HBV;
  • HCV;
  • Liver disease;
  • TGF-β

Summary.  Important questions remain on the role of T cells in progression of hepatitis virus-mediated liver pathogenesis: are T cells ‘Good or Bad’? How could one maintain a beneficial balance, in which regulatory T-cell (Treg) populations might play an important role? Treg are a heterogeneous population of cells, including the classical CD4+CD25+ subset expressing the transcription factor Foxp3, CD4 T cells secreting IL-10 (Tr1) or TGF-β (Th3), but also some CD8 T cells, double negative T cells and γδ T cells. The role of Treg in viral hepatitis, particularly HBV and HCV, seems to range from suppressing T-cell responses directed against hepatitis viruses to down-regulating the immune responses causing the liver damage. Questions also remain unresolved on which Treg populations are important and how to establish a beneficial balance, mostly due to the difficulties in studying the heterogeneous Treg populations but also due to the problem accessing liver, the principal target of hepatitis viruses. Here, we will review progress to date on understanding Treg populations in regard to viral hepatitis.