2009 Volume 85 Issue 7 Pages 217-228
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) establishes a persistent infection and causes chronic hepatitis. Chronic hepatitis patients often develop hepatic cirrhosis and progress to liver cancer. The development of this pathological condition is linked to the persistent infection of the virus. In other words, viral replication/multiplication may contribute to disease pathology. Accumulating clinical studies suggest that HCV infection alters lipid metabolism, and thus causes fatty liver. It has been reported that this abnormal metabolism exacerbates hepatic diseases. Recently, we revealed that lipid droplets play a key role in HCV replication. Understanding the molecular mechanism of HCV replication will help elucidate the pathogenic mechanism and develop preventive measures that inhibit disease manifestation by blocking persistent infection. In this review, we outline recent findings on the function of lipid droplets in the HCV replication cycle and describe the relationship between the development of liver diseases and virus replication.
(Communicated by Takao SEKIYA, M.J.A.)