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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 789859, 9 pages
Research Article

Effects of Telbivudine Treatment on the Circulating CD4+ T-Cell Subpopulations in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients

1Institute of Immunology, Third Military Medical University, PLA, Chongqing 400038, China
2Department of Pathology and Experimental Medicine, 306 Hospital, PLA, Beijing 100101, China
3Department of Health Care, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China
4Department of Dermatology, 105th Hospital, PLA, Hefei 230001, China
5Department of Infectious Diseases, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China
6Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Child Development and Disorders, Pediatric Research Institute, Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400014, China

Received 26 November 2011; Accepted 12 February 2012

Academic Editor: Teresa Zelante

Copyright © 2012 Yanhua Zheng 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.


CD4+ T cells serve as master regulators of the adaptive immune response to HBV. However, CD4+ T-cell subsets are heterogeneous, and it remains unknown how the antiviral agents affect the different CD4+ T cell subtypes. To this end, the expressions of signature transcription factors and cytokines of CD4+ T-cell subtypes were examined in hepatitis B patients before and after treatment with telbivudine. Results showed that, upon the rapid HBV copy decrease induced by telbivudine treatment, the frequencies and related cytokines of Th17 and Treg cells were dramatically decreased, while those for Th2 cells were dramatically increased. No obvious changes were observed in Th1 cell frequencies; although, IFN-γ expression was upregulated in response to telbivudine treatment, suggesting another cell source of IFN-γ in CHB patients. Statistical analyses indicated that Th17 and Tr1 (a Treg subtype) cells were the most sensitive subpopulations of the peripheral blood CD4+ T cells to telbivudine treatment over 52 weeks. Thus, Th17 and Tr1 cells may represent a suitable and effective predictor of responsiveness during telbivudine therapy. These findings not only improve our understanding of hepatitis pathogenesis but also can aid in future development of appropriate therapeutic strategies to control viral hepatitis.