Somatic hypermutations confer rheumatoid factor activity in hepatitis C virus-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia.
OBJECTIVE: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most frequent cause of mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC), which is characterized by endothelial deposition of rheumatoid factor (RF)-containing immune complexes and end-organ vasculitis. MC is a lymphoproliferative disorder in which B cells express RF-like Ig, yet its precise antigenic stimulus is unknown. We have proposed that IgG-HCV immune complexes stimulate B cell expansion and somatic hypermutation (SHM)-induced affinity maturation in part via engagem...Expand abstract
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