The relationship between T cell subsets and T suppressor cell function in hepatitis B
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75 patients with various types of hepatitis B were studied by the assay of Gattringer’s spontaneous suppressor T cell (STs) function. 24 of them with chronic hepatitis B infection were simultaneously investigated by enumeration of OKT3+, OKT4+, OKT8+ T cell subsets in peripheral blood with staphylococci-conjugated IgG rosette forming technique. Patients with chronic active hepatitis B (CAHB) had a significantly decreased STs function while all but one asymptomatic HBsAg carriers had normal, or even higher than normal, STs function. OKT4/OKT8 ratio was obviously low both in CAH and in chronic persistent hepatitis B (CPHB). Positive relationship between STs function and the proportion of OKT8+ cells was identified while most patients with CAH showed higher proportion of OKT8+ cells and destroyed STs function simultaneously. It is suggested that OKT8+ cells in CAHB and CPHB are not of the same entity. In other words, in CAHB OKT8+ cells include mostly cytotoxic T cells, while in CPH, mostly T suppressors.
Key wordsT cell subsets T suppressor relationship chronic active hepatitis B chronic persistent hepatitis B
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