Influence of inhibitory killer immunoglobulin-like receptors and their HLA-C ligands on resolving hepatitis C virus infection


Dr Silvana Gaudieri
Centre for Forensic Science and School of Anatomy and Human Biology
University of Western Australia
Tel: 61 8 92242899
Fax: 61 8 92241981


An estimated 2%–3% of the world’s population is chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and this is a major cause of liver disease worldwide. Following acute infection, outcome is variable with acute HCV successfully resolved in some individuals (20%–30%), but in the majority of cases the virus is able to persist. Co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus has been associated with a negative impact on the course of HCV infection. The host’s immune response is an important correlate of HCV infection outcome and disease progression. Natural killer (NK) cells provide a major component of the antiviral immune response by recognising and killing virally infected cells. NK cells modulate their activity through a combination of inhibitory and activatory receptors such as the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) that bind to human leukocyte antigen (HLA) Class I molecules. In this workshop component, we addressed the influence of KIR genotypes and their HLA ligands on resolving HCV infection and we discuss the implications of the results of the study of Lopez-Vazquez et al. on KIR and HCV disease progression.