Liver’s defense mechanism hinders immunity in chronic hepatitis B, study reveals


Researchers from the Technical University of Munich have discovered a mechanism in chronic hepatitis B that switches off immune cells attacking infected liver cells. This immune suppression is caused by endothelial cells in blood vessels in the liver setting a “sleep timer” for the immune cells. The longer the immune cells are in contact with the endothelial cells, the weaker their activity becomes. This mechanism evolved as a protective function for the liver, but in cases of chronic hepatitis B, the virus can escape immune control. Targeting this mechanism could lead to new immunotherapies for chronic hepatitis B and enhance the effect of vaccinations against the disease.

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