Since the identification of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) 20 years ago, much progress has been made in our understanding of its life cycle and interaction with the host immune system. Much has been learned from HCV itself, which, via decades of coevolution, gained an intricate knowledge of host innate and adaptive immune responses and developed sophisticated ways to preempt, subvert, and antagonize them. This review discusses the clinical, virological, and immunological features of acute and chronic hepatitis C and the role of the immune response in spontaneous and treatment-induced HCV clearance.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) induces a chronic infection in more than two-thirds of HCV infected subjects. The inefficient innate and adaptive immune responses have been shown to play a major pathogenetic role in the development and persistence of HCV chronic infection. Several aspects of the interactions between the virus and the host immune system have been clarified and, in particular, mechanisms have been identified which underlie the ability of HCV to seize and subvert innate as well as adaptive immune responses. The present review summarizes recent findings on the interaction between HCV infection and innate immune response whose final effect is the downstream inefficient development of antigen-specific adaptive immunity, thereby contributing to virus persistence.
HCV; Innate immunity; Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs); Interferon stimulated genes (ISGs); Systems biology
Immune responses of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are implicated in viral eradication and the pathogenesis of hepatitis C. Weak CTL response against hepatitis C virus (HCV) may lead to a persistent infection. HCV infection impairs the function of HCV-specific CTLs; HCV proteins are thought to actively suppress host immune responses, including CTLs. Induction of a strong HCV-specific CTL response in HCV-infected patients can facilitate complete HCV clearance. Thus, the development of a vaccine that can induce potent CTL response against HCV is strongly expected. We investigated HCV-specific CTL responses by enzyme-linked immuno-spot assay and/or synthetic peptides and identified over 40 novel CTL epitopes in the HCV protein. Our findings may contribute to the development of the HCV vaccine. In this paper, we describe the CTL responses in HCV infection and the attempts at vaccine development based on recent scientific articles.
The pathogenesis of HIV infection, and in particular the development of immunodeficiency, remains incompletely understood. Whichever intricate molecular mechanisms are at play between HIV and the host, it is evident that the organism is incapable of restricting and eradicating the invading pathogen. Both innate and adaptive immune responses are raised, but they appear to be insufficient or too late to eliminate the virus. Moreover, the picture is complicated by the fact that the very same cells and responses aimed at eliminating the virus seem to play deleterious roles by driving ongoing immune activation and progressive immunodeficiency. Whereas much knowledge exists on the role of adaptive immunity during HIV infection, it has only recently been appreciated that the innate immune response also plays an important part in HIV pathogenesis. In this review, we present current knowledge on innate immune recognition and activation during HIV infection based on studies in cell culture, non-human primates, and HIV-infected individuals, and discuss the implications for the understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis.
Several enveloped viruses including HIV-1, CMV, HSV-1, Ebola virus, vaccinia virus, and influenza virus have been found to incorporate host regulators of complement activation (RCA) into their viral envelopes and, as a result, escape antibody-dependent complement-mediated lysis (ADCML). HCV is an enveloped virus of the family Flaviviridae and incorporates more than 10 host lipoproteins. Patients chronically infected with HCV develop high-titer and cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) yet fail to clear the virus, raising the possibility that HCV may also use the similar strategy of RCA incorporation to escape ADCML. The current study was therefore undertaken to determine whether HCV virions incorporate biologically functional CD59, a key member of RCA. Our experiments provided several lines of evidence demonstrating that CD59 was associated with the external membrane of HCV particles derived from either Huh7.5.1 cells or plasma samples from HCV-infected patients. First, HCV particles were captured by CD59-specific Abs. Second, CD59 was detected in purified HCV particles by immunoblot analysis and in the cell-free supernatant from HCV-infected Huh7.5.1 cells, but not from uninfected or Ad5 (a nonenveloped cytolytic virus)-infected Huh7.5.1 cells by ELISA. Last, abrogation of CD59 function with its blockers increased the sensitivity of HCV virions to ADCML, resulting in a significant reduction of HCV infectivity. Additionally, direct addition of CD59 blockers into plasma samples from HCV-infected patients increased autologous virolysis.
our study, for the first time, demonstrates that CD59 is incorporated into both cell line-derived and plasma primary HCV virions at levels that protect against ADCML. This is also the first report to show that direct addition of RCA blockers into plasma from HCV-infected patients renders endogenous plasma virions sensitive to ADCML.
regulators of complement activation; hepatocyte; virolysis; antibody; membrane attack complex
Cellular immune responses during acute Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV infection are a known correlate of infection outcome. Viral adaptation to these responses via mutation(s) within CD8+ T-cell epitopes allows these viruses to subvert host immune control. This study examined HCV evolution in 21 HCV genotype 1-infected subjects to characterise the level of viral adaptation during acute and early HCV infection. Of the total mutations observed 25% were within described CD8+ T-cell epitopes or at viral adaptation sites. Most mutations were maintained into the chronic phase of HCV infection (75%). The lack of reversion of adaptations and high proportion of silent substitutions suggests that HCV has structural and functional limitations that constrain evolution. These results were compared to the pattern of viral evolution observed in 98 subjects during a similar phase in HIV infection from a previous study. In contrast to HCV, evolution during acute HIV infection is marked by high levels of amino acid change relative to silent substitutions, including a higher proportion of adaptations, likely reflecting strong and continued CD8+ T-cell pressure combined with greater plasticity of the virus. Understanding viral escape dynamics for these two viruses is important for effective T cell vaccine design.
Multiple immune evasion strategies by which HCV establishes chronic infection have been proposed, including manipulation of cytokine responses. Prior infection with HIV increases the likelihood of chronic HCV infection and accelerates development of HCV-related morbidity. Therefore, we investigated in vitro cytokine responses to HCV structural and non-structural proteins in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from uninfected, HIV-infected, HCV-infected and HIV/HCV-coinfected individuals.
Intracellular flow cytometry was used to assess IL-2, IL-10, IL-12, and IFN-γ production by freshly isolated PBMC incubated for 16 hours with recombinant HCV core, non-structural protein 3 (NS3), and NS4 proteins. Anti-HCV cellular responses were assessed in HIV/HCV-coinfected individuals by 3H-thymidine proliferation assay. Exposure to HCV antigens increased IL-10 production by PBMC, especially in uninfected and HIV-monoinfected individuals. This IL-10 response was attenuated in chronic HCV infection even with HCV/HIV-coinfection. The cells producing IL-10 in response to HCV proteins in vitro matched a PBMC subset recently shown to constitutively produce IL-10 in vivo. This subset was found at similar frequencies in uninfected, HIV-infected, HCV-infected and HIV/HCV-coinfected individuals before exposure to HCV proteins. HCV-specific T cell proliferation was detectable in only one HIV/HCV-coinfected individual who demonstrated no HCV-induced IL-10 response.
This pattern suggests that selective induction of IL-10 in uninfected individuals and especially in HIV-monoinfected individuals plays a role in establishing chronic HCV infection and conversely, that attenuation of this response, once chronic infection is established, favours development of hepatic immunopathology.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has evolved remarkable mechanisms that favor viral persistence by interfering with host innate and adaptive immune responses. These same mechanisms are likely to contribute to resistance to exogenously administered interferon used for HCV treatment. We review the host innate and adaptive immune responses in the context of HCV infection as well as the strategies by which these responses are subverted by the virus. In addition, the contribution of host factors, such as race and insulin resistance, to interferon nonresponsiveness is discussed. Our progress in understanding the molecular underpinnings of interferon treatment failure in HCV infection has resulted in several promising and novel treatment strategies for HCV treatment nonresponders.
hepatitis C; interferon; treatment; race; immune system
This review focuses on the relationship between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and glucose metabolism derangements. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have shown that the chronic HCV infection is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The direct effect of HCV on the insulin signaling has been analyzed in experimental models. Although currently available data should be considered as preliminary, HCV seems to affect glucose metabolism via mechanisms that involve cellular pathways that have been implicated in the host innate immune response. IR and T2D not only accelerate the histological and clinical progression of chronic hepatitis C, but also reduce the early and sustained virological response to interferon-alpha-based therapy. Thus, a detailed knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the HCV-associated glucose metabolism derangements is warranted, in order to improve the clinical management of chronic hepatitis C patients.
Hepatitis C; Fibrosis; Insulin resistance; Insulin signaling; Type 2 diabetes
During the course of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) disease, the virus has been shown to effectively escape the immune response with the subsequent establishment of latent viral reservoirs in specific cell populations within the peripheral blood (PB) and associated lymphoid tissues, bone marrow (BM), brain, and potentially other end organs. HIV-1, along with hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV), are known to share similar routes of transmission, including intravenous drug use, blood transfusions, sexual intercourse, and perinatal exposure. Substance abuse, including the use of opioids and cocaine, is a significant risk factor for exposure to HIV-1 and the development of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, as well as HBV and HCV exposure, infection, and disease. Thus, coinfection with HIV-1 and HBV or HCV is common and may be impacted by chronic substance abuse during the course of disease. HIV-1 impacts the natural course of HBV and HCV infection by accelerating the progression of HBV/HCV-associated liver disease toward end-stage cirrhosis and quantitative depletion of the CD4+ T-cell compartment. HBV or HCV coinfection with HIV-1 is also associated with increased mortality when compared to either infection alone. This review focuses on the impact of substance abuse and coinfection with HBV and HCV in the PB, BM, and brain on the HIV-1 pathogenic process as it relates to viral pathogenesis, disease progression, and the associated immune response during the course of this complex interplay. The impact of HIV-1 and substance abuse on hepatitis virus-induced disease is also a focal point.
bone marrow; brain; cocaine; HBV; HCV; HIV-1; opioids
HIV/HCV co-infection is a common and complex clinical problem in which loss of immunological control of HCV occurs, with increased HCV viral load and more aggressive liver disease. Cellular immune responses, particularly secretion of IFN-γ, appear to be important in control of HCV and a detectable HCV-specific CD4 response is associated with clearance of the virus. HCV-specific CD8+ T cell responses, weak in chronic HCV infection, have been shown to be further impaired in HIV co-infection and this CD8+ T cell deficiency is related to the decline in CD4 T cell count.
To compare the CD4 T cell response to HCV in HIV/HCV co-infected and HCV mono-infected individuals and to determine the relationship of responses with declining CD4 count.
The study subjects were a cohort of 68 HCV mono-infected and 67 HCV/HIV co-infected haemophiliac children and adolescents (HGDS) who were followed for a seven year period.
We analysed IFN-γ secreting CD4+ responses to HCV proteins and peptides and HIV p24 antigen using an ELISpot assay.
We found a significant decrease in HCV-specific responses among those who were HIV co-infected (10/67 vs 36/68, p<0.0001) both in numbers of responders and frequency of specific cells. This did not appear to be closely related to CD4 count.
The reduction in HCV-specific CD4 T cells in co-infection provide a cellular mechanism for the loss of control of HCV in co-infected individuals, even in those with relatively preserved CD4+ T cell counts. The HCV-specific CD4 T cell loss appears to occur prior to the loss of HIV-specific CD4 T cells.
HCV/HIV co-infection; CD4 responses
In contrast to the extraordinary body of knowledge gained over the past three decades on the virology, pathogenesis, and immunology of HIV-1 infection, innate sensors that detect HIV-1 had remained elusive until recently. By virtue of integration, retroviridae makes up a substantial portion of our genome. Thus, immune strategies that deal with endogenous retroviruses are, by necessity, those of self-preservation and not of virus elimination. Some of the principles of such strategies may also apply for defense against exogenous retroviruses including HIV-1. Here, I highlight several sensors that have recently been revealed to be capable of recognizing distinct features of HIV-1 infection, while taking into account the host-retrovirus relationship that converges on avoiding pathogenic inflammatory consequences.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and death; it is estimated that 180 million persons are infected with HCV worldwide. The consequences of HCV are worse in those who are coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1), which is unfortunately a common scenario because of shared risk factors of the viruses. More studies into effects of HCV/HIV-1 coinfection are needed, but efforts have been hampered by limitations in our understanding of the combined pathogenesis of the 2 viruses. Gaining insight into the mechanisms that underlie the immunopathogenesis of these persistent viral infections could lead to new therapeutic strategies for patients with HCV/HIV-1 coinfection.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genomes and proteins are present in human brain tissues although the impact of HIV/HCV co-infection on neuropathogenesis remains unclear. Herein, we investigate HCV infectivity and effects on neuronal survival and neuroinflammation in conjunction with HIV infection.
Human microglia, astrocyte and neuron cultures were infected with cell culture-derived HCV or exposed to HCV core protein with or without HIV-1 infection or HIV-1 Viral Protein R (Vpr) exposure. Host immune gene expression and cell viability were measured. Patch-clamp studies of human neurons were performed in the presence or absence of HCV core protein. Neurobehavioral performance and neuropathology were examined in HIV-1 Vpr-transgenic mice in which stereotaxic intrastriatal implants of HCV core protein were performed.
HCV-encoded RNA as well as HCV core and non-structural 3 (NS3) proteins were detectable in human microglia and astrocytes infected with HCV. HCV core protein exposure induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-1β, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α in microglia (p<0.05) but not in astrocytes while increased chemokine (e.g. CXCL10 and interleukin-8) expression was observed in both microglia and astrocytes (p<0.05). HCV core protein modulated neuronal membrane currents and reduced both β-III-tubulin and lipidated LC3-II expression (p<0.05). Neurons exposed to supernatants from HCV core-activated microglia exhibited reduced β-III-tubulin expression (p<0.05). HCV core protein neurotoxicity and interleukin-6 induction were potentiated by HIV-1 Vpr protein (p<0.05). HIV-1 Vpr transgenic mice implanted with HCV core protein showed gliosis, reduced neuronal counts together with diminished LC3 immunoreactivity. HCV core-implanted animals displayed neurobehavioral deficits at days 7 and 14 post-implantation (p<0.05).
HCV core protein exposure caused neuronal injury through suppression of neuronal autophagy in addition to neuroimmune activation. The additive neurotoxic effects of HCV- and HIV-encoded proteins highlight extrahepatic mechanisms by which HCV infection worsens the disease course of HIV infection.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. The interplay between the virus and host innate and adaptive immune responses determines the outcome of infection. There is increasing evidence that host neutralizing responses play a relevant role in the resulting pathogenesis. Furthermore, viral evasion from host neutralizing antibodies has been revealed to be an important contributor in leading both to viral persistence in acute liver graft infection following liver transplantation, and to chronic viral infection. The development of novel model systems to study HCV entry and neutralization has allowed a detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms of virus-host interactions during antibody-mediated neutralization. The understanding of these mechanisms will ultimately contribute to the development of novel antiviral preventive strategies for liver graft infection and an urgently needed vaccine. This review summarizes recent concepts of the role of neutralizing antibodies in viral clearance and protection, and highlights consequences of viral escape from neutralizing antibodies in the pathogenesis of HCV infection.
antiviral; evasion; liver; transplantation; vaccine
Background and Aims
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a challenge to prevent and treat because of the rapid development of drug resistance and escape. Viral entry is required for initiation, spread, and maintenance of infection, making it an attractive target for antiviral strategies.
Using genetic immunization, we produced four monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the HCV host entry factor CD81. The effects of antibodies on inhibition of HCV infection and dissemination were analyzed in HCV permissive human liver cell lines.
The anti-CD81 mAbs efficiently inhibited infection by HCV of different genotypes as well as a HCV escape variant selected during liver transplantation and re-infecting the liver graft. Kinetic studies indicated that anti-CD81 mAbs target a post-binding step during HCV entry. In addition to inhibiting cell-free HCV infection, one antibody was also able to block neutralizing antibody-resistant HCV cell-cell transmission and viral dissemination without displaying any detectable toxicity.
A novel anti-CD81 mAb generated by genetic immunization efficiently blocks HCV spread and dissemination. This antibody will be useful to further unravel the role of virus-host interactions during HCV entry and cell-cell transmission. Furthermore, this antibody may be of interest for the development of antivirals for prevention and treatment of HCV infection.
Human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus (HIV/HCV) coinfection is a common and complex clinical problem in which loss of immunological control of HCV occurs, with increased HCV viral load and more aggressive liver disease. Cellular immune responses, particularly secretion of interferon γ (IFN‐γ) appear to be important in the control of HCV, and a detectable HCV specific CD4 response is associated with clearance of the virus. HCV specific CD8+ T cell responses, weak in chronic HCV infection, have been shown to be further impaired in HIV coinfection and this CD8+ T cell deficiency is related to the decline in CD4 T cell count.
To compare the CD4 T cell response to HCV in HIV/HCV coinfected and HCV monoinfected individuals and to determine the relationship of responses with declining CD4 count.
The study subjects were a cohort of 68 HCV monoinfected and 67 HCV/HIV coinfected haemophiliac children and adolescents (the Hemophilia Growth and Development Study) who were followed for a seven year period.
We analysed IFN‐γ secreting CD4+ responses to HCV proteins and peptides and HIV p24 antigen using an ELISpot assay.
We found a significant decrease in HCV specific responses among those who were HIV coinfected (10/67 v 36/68; p<0.0001) both in numbers of responders and frequency of specific cells. This did not appear to be closely related to CD4 count.
The reduction in HCV specific CD4 T cells in coinfection provide a cellular mechanism for the loss of control of HCV in coinfected individuals, even in those with relatively preserved CD4+ T cell counts and CD4+ T cell responses to HIV.
hepatitis C virus; human immunodeficiency virus; CD4+ T cells; coinfection
Microbial translocation (MT) through the gut accounts for immune activation and CD4+ loss in HIV and may influence HCV disease progression in HIV/HCV co-infection. We asked whether increased MT and immune activation may hamper anti-HCV response in HIV/HCV patients.
98 HIV/HCV patients who received pegylated-alpha-interferon (peg-INF-alpha)/ribavirin were retrospectively analyzed. Baseline MT (lipopolysaccharide, LPS), host response to MT (sCD14), CD38+HLA-DR+CD4+/CD8+, HCV genotype, severity of liver disease were assessed according to Early Virological Response (EVR: HCV-RNA <50 IU/mL at week 12 of therapy or ≥2 log10 reduction from baseline after 12 weeks of therapy) and Sustained Virological Response (SVR: HCV-RNA <50 IU/mL 24 weeks after end of therapy). Mann-Whitney/Chi-square test and Pearson's correlation were used. Multivariable regression was performed to determine factors associated with EVR/SVR.
71 patients displayed EVR; 41 SVR. Patients with HCV genotypes 1–4 and cirrhosis presented a trend to higher sCD14, compared to patients with genotypes 2–3 (p = 0.053) and no cirrhosis (p = 0.052). EVR and SVR patients showed lower levels of circulating sCD14 (p = 0.0001, p = 0.026, respectively), but similar T-cell activation compared to Non-EVR (Null Responders, NR) and Non-SVR (N-SVR) subjects. sCD14 resulted the main predictive factor of EVR (0.145 for each sCD14 unit more, 95%CI 0.031–0.688, p = 0.015). SVR was associated only with HCV genotypes 2–3 (AOR 0.022 for genotypes 1–4 vs 2–3, 95%CI 0.001–0.469, p = 0.014).
In HIV/HCV patients sCD14 correlates with the severity of liver disease and predicts early response to peg-INF-alpha/ribavirin, suggesting MT-driven immune activation as pathway of HIV/HCV co-infection and response to therapy.
The natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is determined by a complex interplay between host genetic, immunological and viral factors. This review highlights genes involved in innate and adaptive immune responses associated with different outcomes of HCV infection. For example, an association of HCV clearance with certain HLA alleles has been demonstrated. The mechanisms responsible for these associations have been linked to specific T cell responses for some particular alleles (e.g., HLA-B27). Genetic associations involved in T cell regulation and function further underline the role of the adaptive immune response in the natural history of HCV infection. In addition, some genes involved in innate NK cell responses demonstrate the complex interplay between components of the immune system necessary for a successful host response to HCV infection.
Hepatitis C; genes; natural history; HLA; T cells; NK cells
Autophagy removes long-lived proteins and damaged organelles and is important for maintaining cellular homeostasis. It can also serve in innate immunity to remove intracellular pathogens. As such, viruses have evolved different mechanisms to subvert this innate immune response. We have recently demonstrated that hepatitis C virus (HCV) can also suppress autophagic protein degradation by suppressing the fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes. This suppression causes the accumulation of autophagosomes and enhances HCV RNA replication.1 Our further analysis indicated that the induction of autophagosomes by HCV is dependent on the unfolded protein response (UPR). Our studies thus delineate a molecular pathway by which HCV induces autophagosomes. The prolonged perturbation of the autophagic pathway by HCV likely plays an important role in HCV pathogenesis.
hepatitis C virus; autophagy; autophagosomes; ER stress; unfolded protein response; HCV RNA replication
Viruses cannot replicate autonomously, but must rely on the host cellular machinery to support their life cycle. Through natural selection, viruses have evolved strategies to co-opt the host organism to be a better site for their propagation. Some of these strategies are directed at the cellular machinery and involve complicated and ingenious solutions to optimize infection, replication, viral gene expression and new virion assembly and shedding. Other strategies are directed at the host’s innate and adaptive immune systems permitting the virus to evade clearance mechanisms. The more common pathogenic viral infections in nephrology, CMV, HIV-1, HCV, polyomavirus BK and parvovirus B19, all have acquired subversion strategies that benefit the virus, but because they interfere with normal cellular and immune processes, also have become pathogenic to the host. In addition, the highly prevalent viruses CMV, BK, and B19 only cause severe disease in the setting of immunosuppression, revealing the very delicate balance some viruses have achieved with their host’s immune system. Thus, selective pressure for survival drives both the evolution of more sophisticated viruses and also the host immune system as it evolves to combat the environment of adapting and emerging infectious agents. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of these viral subversion strategies may reveal new targets for the development of highly specific anti-viral therapies and also aide vaccine development.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global public health problem that mediates a persistent infection in nearly 200 million people. HCV is efficient in establishing chronicity due in part to the inefficiency of the host immune system in controlling and counteracting HCV-mediated evasion strategies. HCV persistence is linked to the ability of the virus to suppress the RIG-I pathway and interferon production from infected hepatocytes, thus evading innate immune defenses within the infected cell. This review describes the virus and host processes that regulate the RIG-I pathway during HCV infection. An understanding of these HCV–host interactions could lead to more effective therapies for HCV designed to reactivate the host immune response following HCV infection.
The APOBEC family of proteins comprises deaminase enzymes that edit DNA and/or RNA sequences. The APOBEC3 subgroup plays an important role on the innate immune system, acting on host defense against exogenous viruses and endogenous retroelements. The role of APOBEC3 proteins in the inhibition of viral infection was firstly described for HIV-1. However, in the past few years many studies have also shown evidence of APOBEC3 action on other viruses associated with human diseases, including HTLV, HCV, HBV, HPV, HSV-1, and EBV. APOBEC3 inhibits these viruses through a series of editing-dependent and independent mechanisms. Many viruses have evolved mechanisms to counteract APOBEC effects, and strategies that enhance APOBEC3 activity constitute a new approach for antiviral drug development. On the other hand, novel evidence that editing by APOBEC3 constitutes a source for viral genetic diversification and evolution has emerged. Furthermore, a possible role in cancer development has been shown for these host enzymes. Therefore, understanding the role of deaminases on the immune response against infectious agents, as well as their role in human disease, has become pivotal. This review summarizes the state-of-the-art knowledge of the impact of APOBEC enzymes on human viruses of distinct families and harboring disparate replication strategies.
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a serious burden to public health worldwide. Currently, HCV-infected patients could undergo antiviral therapy by giving pegylated IFN-α with ribavirin. However, this therapy is only effective in around 50% of patients with HCV genotype 1, which accounts for more than 70% of all HCV infection, and it is not well tolerated for most patients. Moreover, there is no vaccine available. The efforts on identifying protective immunity against HCV have progressed recently. Neutralizing antibodies and robust T cell responses including both CD4+ and CD8+ have been shown to be related to the clearance of HCV, which have shed lights on the potential success of HCV vaccines. There are many vaccines developed and tested before entering clinical trials. Here, we would first discuss strategies of viral immune evasion and correlates of protective host immunity and finally review some prospective vaccine approaches against chronic HCV infection.
Approximately 500 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV), and are therefore at an increased risk for developing fatal liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The intracellular antiviral responses induced by interferon (IFN)-α/-β and/or IFN-γ play critical roles in the pathogenesis of HBV and HCV infection, and the function of IFN-λ in the host immune response to these viruses is beginning to be revealed. A better understanding of how IFN-λ influences HBV or HCV persistence is not only important for understanding the mechanisms of chronic virus infection, but also may lead to new approaches for improved antiviral therapies.