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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 263810, 10 pages
Review Article

Immune Response of Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes and Possibility of Vaccine Development for Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8666, Japan

Received 11 November 2009; Revised 25 January 2010; Accepted 15 March 2010

Academic Editor: Zhengguo Xiao

Copyright © 2010 Kazumasa Hiroishi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Immune responses of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are implicated in viral eradication and the pathogenesis of hepatitis C. Weak CTL response against hepatitis C virus (HCV) may lead to a persistent infection. HCV infection impairs the function of HCV-specific CTLs; HCV proteins are thought to actively suppress host immune responses, including CTLs. Induction of a strong HCV-specific CTL response in HCV-infected patients can facilitate complete HCV clearance. Thus, the development of a vaccine that can induce potent CTL response against HCV is strongly expected. We investigated HCV-specific CTL responses by enzyme-linked immuno-spot assay and/or synthetic peptides and identified over 40 novel CTL epitopes in the HCV protein. Our findings may contribute to the development of the HCV vaccine. In this paper, we describe the CTL responses in HCV infection and the attempts at vaccine development based on recent scientific articles.