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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr;39(4 Suppl 2):S162-6.

Mitochondrial dysfunction in hepatitis C.

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Department of Internal Medicine University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-0641, USA.


Chronic hepatitis C induces a state of hepatic oxidative stress that is more pronounced than that present in many other inflammatory liver diseases. This review summarizes recent information that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein plays an important role in this phenomenon. Core protein localizes to mitochondria, particularly at the points of contact between mitochondrial outer membrane and endoplasmic reticulum. Its expression causes inhibition of electron transport at complex I, increased complex I reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, decreased mitochondrial glutathione, and increased mitochondrial permeability transition in response to exogenous oxidants and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Possible mechanisms of the core protein effects include direct interaction with electron carriers and indirect effects mediated by changes in mitochondrial calcium. These results suggest that antioxidant approaches may prove beneficial for patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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