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HBeAg induces liver sinusoidal endothelial cell activation to promote intrahepatic CD8 T cell immunity and HBV clearance

Nature.com
 2021-09-15

Cover picture for the articleCellular & Molecular Immunology (2021)Cite this article. It is believed that the inherent tolerogenic property of the liver is involved in the chronicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection [1]. However, exposure to HBV in adults usually leads to spontaneous clearance of the virus and the induction of potent and effective anti-HBV T cell immunity in the liver [2], suggesting that the immune microenvironment of the liver switches from limiting to allowing effector T cell responses during acute resolution of HBV infection. To date, it remains largely unknown how the immune microenvironment of the liver is regulated and by which mechanism a favorable intrahepatic anti-HBV T cell response is generated in an infected individual. Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) play key roles in intrahepatic immune surveillance against infection by regulating the activation of local immune cells [3]. We have previously demonstrated that LSECs switch from a tolerogenic to an immunogenic state and trigger cytotoxic effector CD8 T cell activation under inflammatory conditions [4, 5]. Here, we investigated whether LSECs exhibit plasticity and switch from a tolerogenic to an immunogenic state upon HBV exposure.

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