Modulation of monocyte/macrophage-derived cytokine and chemokine profile by persistent Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection leads to chronic inflammation

Emmanouil Kochlios, Pelagia Foka, Penelope Mavromara

Abstract


HCV infection presents a major public health problem, with more than 170 million people infected worldwide. Chronicity and persistence of infection constitute the hallmark of the disease. Although HCV is a hepatotropic virus, subsets of immune cells have been found to be permissive to infection and viral replication. Peripheral blood monocytes, attracted to the site of infection and differentiated into macrophages, and resident hepatic macrophages, known as Kupffer cells, are important mediators of innate immunity, through production of several chemokines and cytokines in addition to their phagocytic activity. HCV proteins have been shown to modulate the cytokine and chemokine production profile of monocytes/macrophages, as it is suggested by both in vitro and clinical studies. This modified expression profile appears crucial for the establishment of aberrant inflammation that leads to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.


Keywords


HCV; monocytes; macrophages; cytokines; chemokines; inflammation; hepatocellular carcinoma; lymphotropism

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