CD4(+) T cells and natural killer cells: Biomarkers for hepatic fibrosis in human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients

2017 World Journal of Hepatology 9;25 (1073-1080)

AIM: To characterize peripheral blood natural killer (NK) cells phenotypes by flow cytometry as potential biomarker of liver fibrosis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfected patients. METHODS: Peripheral mononuclear cells from 24 HIV/HCV (HBV negative) coinfected and 5 HIV/HCV/HBV seronegative individuals were evaluated. HIV/HCV coinfected patients were divided in to groups: G1, patients with METAVIR F0-F2 and G2, patients with METAVIR F3-F4. NK surface cell staining was performed with: Anti-CD3(APC/Cy7), anti-CD56(PE/Cy5), anti-CD57(APC), anti-CD25(PE), anti-CD69(FITC), anti-NKp30(PE), anti-NKp46(PE/Cy7), anti-NKG2D(APC), anti-DNAM(FITC); anti-CD62L (PE/Cy7), anti-CCR7(PE), anti-TRAIL(PE), anti-FasL(PE), anti CD94(FITC). Flow cytometry data acquisition was performed on BD FACSCanto, analyzed using FlowJo software. Frequency of fluorescence was analyzed for all single markers. Clinical records were reviewed, and epidemiological and clinical data were obtained. RESULTS: Samples from 11 patients were included in G1 and from 13 in G2. All patients were on ARV, with undetectable HIV viral load. Liver fibrosis was evaluated by transient elastography in 90% of the patients and with biopsy in 10% of the patients. Mean HCV viral load was (6.18 +/- 0.7 log10). Even though, no major significant differences were observed between G1 and G2 regarding NK surface markers, it was found that patients with higher liver fibrosis presented statistically lower percentage of NK cells than individual with low to mild fibrosis and healthy controls (G2: 5.4% +/- 2.3%, G1: 12.6% +/- 8.2%, P = 0.002 and healthy controls 12.2% +/- 2.7%, P = 0.008). It was also found that individuals with higher liver fibrosis presented lower CD4 LT count than those from G1 (G2: 521 +/- 312 cells/muL, G1: 770 +/- 205 cells/muL; P = 0.035). CONCLUSION: Higher levels of liver fibrosis were associated with lower percentage of NK cells and LTCD4(+) count; and they may serve as noninvasive biomarkers of liver damage.