Characteristics of CD8+ Stem Cell-Like Memory T Cell Subset in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Xiaofan Lu, Bingbing Song, Wenjia Weng, Bin Su, Hao Wu, Allen Ka Loon Cheung*, Tong Zhang*, Yanqing Gao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The dysfunction of memory CD8+ T cell cannot be reverted by successful clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) after direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) therapy, increasing the risk of reinfection with HCV. Stem cell-like memory T cells (Tscm) with superior properties of long-lasting, self-renewing, and multipotency contribute to the maintenance of immune function. We investigated the impact of HCV infection on CD8+ Tscm, and their possible role in disease progression, by using DAA-naive HCV-infected and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV-coinfected cohorts. The distribution of memory CD8+ T cell subsets and the level of T cell immune activation were determined by flow cytometry. Associations between CD8+ Tscm and other memory T cell subsets, HCV viral load, as well as the level of T cell immune activation were analyzed. We observed that the proportion of CD8+ Tscm increased in both HCV and HIV/HCV individuals. The proportion of CD8+ Tscm had positive and negative correlation with CD8+ Tcm (central memory T cells) and CD8+ Tem (effector memory T cell), respectively, representing the contribution of CD8+ Tscm in T cell homeostasis. In addition, higher frequency of CD8+ Tscm indicated lower HCV viral load and less T cell immune activation in HCV infection, which suggested that CD8+ Tscm is likely associated with effective control of HCV replication for protective immunity. Considering the characteristics of Tscm, our current findings provide implications for Tscm-based vaccine design and immunotherapy development to achieve HCV elimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalViral Immunology
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Virology

User-Defined Keywords

  • disease progression
  • HCV
  • stem cell-like memory T cell


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