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PLoS Pathog. 2006 Jun;2(6):e59. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Host-specific response to HCV infection in the chimeric SCID-beige/Alb-uPA mouse model: role of the innate antiviral immune response.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.


The severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID)-beige/albumin (Alb)-urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) mouse containing a human-mouse chimeric liver is currently the only small animal model capable of supporting hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This model was utilized to characterize the host transcriptional response to HCV infection. The purpose of these studies was to investigate the genetic component of the host response to HCV infection and also to distinguish virus-induced gene expression changes from adaptive HCV-specific immune-mediated effects. Gene expression profiles from HCV-infected mice were also compared to those from HCV-infected patients. Analyses of the gene expression data demonstrate that host factors regulate the response to HCV infection, including the nature of the innate antiviral immune response. They also indicate that HCV mediates gene expression changes, including regulation of lipid metabolism genes, which have the potential to be directly cytopathic, indicating that liver pathology may not be exclusively mediated by HCV-specific adaptive immune responses. This effect appears to be inversely related to the activation of the innate antiviral immune response. In summary, the nature of the initial interferon response to HCV infection may determine the extent of viral-mediated effects on host gene expression.

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