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Biotecnología Aplicada

On-line version ISSN 1027-2852


DUENAS-CARRERA, Santiago. Hepatitis C virus and lipid metabolism: their implications in vaccine development and treatment. Biotecnol Apl [online]. 2011, vol.28, n.1, pp.1-5. ISSN 1027-2852.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects over 170 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of chronic hepatitis and severe forms of liver damage as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. There is no vaccine available against this pathogen and the current therapeutic option, based on the combination of pegylated interferon plus Ribavirin, is expensive, produces undesirable side effects, and is effective in approximately half of the patients treated. HCV establishes a complex and not completely understood interaction with the host. In addition to its variability and interference with the immune system function, the HCV life cycle is closely associated with lipid metabolism and this relationship contributes to viral persistence. The present review analyzes the current state of the art in this association and the disturbances generated, mainly expressed as intracellular lipid accumulation in hepatocytes and increased oxidative stress with negative consequences in the immune response. Moreover, the potential impact on the development of vaccines and more effective therapeutic interventions against this virus, in the context of the disorders in lipid metabolism, is discussed. Finally, perspectives for rational intervention, taking into account the dependence of HCV to lipid metabolism, and potential targets, are evaluated.

Keywords : HCV; vaccine; VLDL; lipid; therapy.

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