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J Virol. 2006 Oct;80(20):10253-7.

Production of infectious hepatitis C virus by well-differentiated, growth-arrested human hepatoma-derived cells.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, SBR-10, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) has been shown to induce the differentiation of primary hepatocytes in vitro. When actively dividing poorly differentiated human hepatoma-derived (Huh7) cells were cultured in the presence of 1% DMSO, cells became cytologically differentiated and transitioned into a nondividing state, characterized by the induction of hepatocyte-specific genes. Moreover, these cells were highly permissive for acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and persistent long term infection of these cultures could also be achieved. As HCV naturally replicates in highly differentiated nondividing human hepatocytes, this system may more accurately mimic the conditions under which HCV replicates in vivo than previous models using poorly differentiated rapidly dividing hepatoma cells.

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