Mucosal-associated invariant T-cells are severely reduced and exhausted in humans with chronic HBV infection

Wenyong Huang, Wenjing He, Xiaomin Shi, Qianyu Ye, Xiaoshun He, Lang Dou, Yifang Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Chronic hepatitis B virus (CHBV) infection is a major cause of liver diseases. Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are important for antiviral immunity in the liver, but the distinction between intrasinusoidal and peripheral MAIT cells in patients with CHBV infections remains unclear. PBMCs were obtained from patients with CHBV infections (n = 29) and age-matched controls (n = 46). Liver-associated mononuclear cells (LMCs) were collected from healthy donors (n = 29) and explanted livers (n = 19) from patients and used for phenotypic, functional and TCR diversity analyses. The percentages of both peripheral and intrasinusoidal MAIT cells were significantly reduced in the CHBV infection group compared to the control group. Peripheral MAIT cells from CHBV-infected patients expressed higher levels of HLA-DR, CD69, CD38 and PD-1 than those of controls. We also confirmed that peripheral MAIT cells in HBV patients had elevated expression T-cell exhaustion genes. Except for a difference in the level of PD-1, no differences were observed between the liver MAIT cells of the two groups. The production of IFN-α in peripheral MAIT cells of CHBV infection patients was lower than in control patients, but no such difference was observed in liver MAIT cells. Additionally, a distinct TCR signature was found in CHBV patients. Hence, we found distinct activities and functions in liver and peripheral MAIT cells of patients with CHBV infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1096-1107
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • CD38
  • CD69
  • HLA-DR
  • IFN-γ
  • MAIT cells
  • PD-1
  • chronic hepatitis B virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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