In chronic HCV infection, treatment failure and defective host immune response highly demand improved therapy strategies. Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells may inhibit HCV replication in vitro through IFN-γ release after Phosphoantigen (PhAg) stimulation. The aim of our work was to analyze Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell functionality during chronic HCV infection, studying the role of IFN-α on their function capability. IFN-γ production by Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells was analyzed in vitro in 24 HCV-infected patients and 35 healthy donors (HD) after PhAg stimulation with or without IFN-α. The effect of in vivo PhAg/IFN-α administration on plasma IFN-γ levels was analyzed in M. fascicularis monkeys. A quantitative analysis of IFN-γ mRNA level and stability in Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells was also evaluated. During chronic HCV infection, Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells showed an effector/activated phenotype and were significantly impaired in IFN-γ production. Interestingly, IFN-α was able to improve their IFN-γ response to PhAg both in vitro in HD and HCV-infected patients, and in vivo in Macaca fascicularis primates. Finally, IFN-α increased IFN-γ-mRNA transcription and stability in PhAg-activated Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells. Altogether our results show a functional impairment of Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells during chronic HCV infection that can be partially restored by using IFN-α. A study aimed to evaluate the antiviral impact of PhAg/IFN-α combination may provide new insight in designing possible combined strategies to improve HCV infection treatment outcome. © 2012 Cimini et al.
Cimini, E., Bonnafous, C., Bordoni, V., Lalle, E., Sicard, H., Sacchi, A., et al. (2012). Interferon-α improves phosphoantigen-induced Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells interferon-γ production during chronic HCV infection. PLOS ONE, 7(5), e37014 [10.1371/journal.pone.0037014].