Molecular Mechanisms of Fatty Liver Disease Associated with Hepatitis C Virus Infection, pp. 225-236
Authors: (Qiang Liu, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada)
Abstract: Hepatitis C is a devastating liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. There is no vaccine available. The only approved therapy is interferon and ribavirin. In addition to strong side-effects, these drugs are expensive and yet effective for only about 50% of the patients. Novel therapeutics is urgently needed but the progress is very slow because of a lack of knowledge on the mechanisms of how HCV causes liver diseases. Liver steatosis, or the fatty liver disease, is a very important clinical manifestation associated with HCV infection. Hepatitis C patients with steatosis are much more likely to progress to more advanced liver diseases such as fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Therefore, prevention of steatosis represents an important means to retard the progression of HCV-related severe liver diseases. As such, elucidation of molecular mechanisms by which HCV causes steatosis is instrumental to the development of effective therapeutics for HCV-associated steatosis. This chapter will review research progress in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of steatosis associated with HCV infection and discuss future research directions as well as the implications for developing novel and effective therapeutics.