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J Hepatol. 2007 Mar;46(3):411-9. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

The low-density lipoprotein receptor plays a role in the infection of primary human hepatocytes by hepatitis C virus.

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Inserm, U632, Hepatic Physiopathology, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.



The direct implication of low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection of human hepatocyte has not been demonstrated. Normal primary human hepatocytes infected by serum HCV were used to document this point.


Expression and activity of LDLR were assessed by RT-PCR and LDL entry, in the absence or presence of squalestatin or 25-hydroxycholesterol that up- or down-regulates LDLR expression, respectively. Infection was performed in the absence or presence of LDL, HDL, recombinant soluble LDLR peptides encompassing full-length (r-shLDLR4-292) or truncated (r-shLDLR4-166) LDL-binding domain, monoclonal antibodies against r-shLDLR4-292, squalestatin or 25-hydroxycholesterol. Intracellular amounts of replicative and genomic HCV RNA strands used as end point of infection were assessed by RT-PCR.


r-shLDLR4-292, antibodies against r-shLDLR4-292 and LDL inhibited viral RNA accumulation, irrespective of genotype, viral load or liver donor. Inhibition was greatest when r-shLDLR4-292 was present at the time of inoculation and gradually decreased as the delay between inoculation and r-shLDLR4-292 treatment increased. In hepatocytes pre-treated with squalestatin or 25-hydroxycholesterol before infection, viral RNA accumulation increased or decreased in parallel with LDLR mRNA expression and LDL entry.


LDLR is involved at an early stage in infection of normal human hepatocytes by serum-derived HCV virions.

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