IMMUNOLOGICAL SHIFTS IN HCV INFECTION: ENHANCED LIVER BIOMARKERS, CD56BRIGHT NK CELLS AND IMPAIRED CYTOTOXICITY IN CD16DIM SUBSET

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Awais Khan
Mirza Ameer Faizan Ali
Bushra Iftikhar
Azka Rizvi
Nargis Aman
Shanza Rafique Malik
Sarwat Moon
Aamna Shah
Khaleel Ullah
Mazhar Ali Khan

Keywords

Natural Killer Cells, CD56Bright, CD16Dim Liver Biomarkers, Hepatitis C

Abstract

Background: Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is chronic, asymptomatic, inflammatory, progressive, and slow-moving.


Objectives: The objective of the study were distribution of acute and chronic infections, treatment outcomes, immune cell levels, viral load, and gender-related disparities in liver enzyme levels. 


Methodology: The study employed the Abbott PCR apparatus for real-time thermocycling, the MINDRAY BA-88A Semi-Automatic Clinical Chemistry Analyzer, and flow cytometry to analyze samples from Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infected patients, with a specific emphasis on evaluating CD56 and CD16 markers on Natural Killer (NK) cells.


Results: This study findings highlighted 87.5% of patients exhibited liver cirrhosis, a severe condition linked to liver failure, while 12.5% had hepatocellular carcinoma. Out of 150 patients 52% had acute HCV infection, 10% had chronic infection, and 38% endured treatment. CD56+ NK cell levels averaged 21±4, with males at 22±6 and females at 18±4, suggesting gender-related differences. CD16+ NK cells averaged 9±4 overall, with males at 8±2 and females at 12±4. Viral load ranged from 62,000-65,000IU/mL (41.33%) to 310,000-418,000IU/mL (7.33%). Genotype 3a was most prevalent (51.70%), while 1a, 2a, and 3b constituted 10.80%, 13.80%, and 17.10%, respectively. Gender disparities were noted in ALT (males: 127±8, females: 113±2), AST (males: 131±4, females: 117±1), and GGT (males: 62±3, females: 49±2) levels.


Conclusion: The study concluded that the liver cirrhosis as the predominant condition in HCV-infected patients, indicating substantial liver damage due to HCV infection. The study also emphasized the potential of HCV treatment in mitigating liver cancer risk.

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