Polyfunctional CD8+ TEM cells specific to apoptotic epitopes correlate with the chronic progression of HCV infection.

(A) Kinetics of plasma HCV-RNA and ALT levels until 15–24 months from clinical onset of infection. Each symbol represents a single patient. Patients resolved: patients with acute HCV infection undergoing infection resolution; Patients chronic: patients with acute HCV infection undergoing chronic infection. (B) Kinetics of the means of all the CD8+pentamer+ (pent) cells specific to MYH9478–485, MYH9741–749, or VIME78–87 epitopes promptly producing the indicated cytokines in response to the relevant apoptotic epitopes. (C) Kinetics of the means of all the CD8+pentamer+ (pent) cells specific to HCV-NS31073–1081, HCV-NS31406–1415, or HCV-Core132–140 epitopes promptly producing the indicated cytokines in response to the relevant viral epitopes. The cells were calculated as percentage of cells expressing CD8, pentamer ligands, and cytokines in PBMCs. Values are shown with the background subtracted. Filled circles represent patients with acute HCV infection experiencing chronic infection; empty circles represent acute HCV-patients undergoing infection resolution.