Animal models for the study of hepatitis C virus infection and replication.

Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
World Journal of Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 2.43). 06/2012; 18(23):2909-13. DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i23.2909
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hepatitis C virus (HCV) hepatitis, initially termed non-A, non-B hepatitis, has become one of the leading causes of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. With the help of animal models, our understanding of the virus has grown substantially from the time of initial discovery. There is a paucity of available animal models for the study of HCV, mainly because of the selective susceptibility limited to humans and primates. Recent work has focused modification of animals to permit HCV entry, replication and transmission. In this review, we highlight the currently available models for the study of HCV including chimpanzees, tupaia, mouse and rat models. Discussion will include methods of model design as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Particular focus is dedicated to knowledge of pathophysiologic mechanisms of HCV infection that have been elucidated through animal studies. Research within animal models is critically important to establish a complete understanding of HCV infection, which will ultimately form the basis for future treatments and prevention of disease.

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