Background: Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is among the major causes of hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis, as well as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and it is associated with a significant risk of developing lymphoproliferative disorders. The rate of clinical disease progression is variable depending on multiple host and viral factors, including immune response.
Methods: To perform a comprehensive epitope mapping of anti-HCV antibodies in patients suffering from HCV-related liver or lymphoproliferative diseases, we analyzed clinical samples on a peptide microarray platform made of 5952 overlapping 15-mer synthetic peptides derived from the whole HCV proteome. We evaluated the antibody profile of 71 HCV-positive patients diagnosed with HCC, mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC), and HCV chronic infection. Antibody reactivity against virus peptides was detected in all HCVpositive patients. Importantly, the signal amplitude varied significantly within and between diverse patient groups.
Results: Antibody reactivity against C peptides were found generally low in HCV chronically infected asymptomatic subjects and increasingly high in HCC and MC patients. Moreover, we found a statistically significant higher IgG response in HCC and MC patients against specific domains of HCV C, E2, NS3, NS4A, NS4B, NS5A, and p7 compared to HCV-positive subjects.
Conclusion: In conclusion, our data suggest that immune response against specific HCV protein domains may represent useful biomarkers of disease progression among HCVpositive patients and suggest that peptide microarrays are good tools for the screening of immunotherapy targets in preclinical HCV research.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1306218] [PMID: 24428467]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1872213X08666140704115149] [PMID: 25000932]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M110.104836] [PMID: 20375010]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.26770] [PMID: 24122862]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2019.11.011] [PMID: 31785346]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1097-0142(195405)7:3<462:AID-CNCR2820070308>3.0.CO;2-E] [PMID: 13160935]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2014.11.006] [PMID: 25445329]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9801] [PMID: 27276713]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0902749106] [PMID: 19380744]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01941-12] [PMID: 23097455]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002895] [PMID: 22952447]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062684] [PMID: 23626846]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2249.1993.tb05929.x] [PMID: 7680297]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006735] [PMID: 29253863]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1834545100] [PMID: 14504405]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.038] [PMID: 32526205]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa0698] [PMID: 26045439]