Nutrigenomics is a relatively new branch of nutrition science, which aim is to study the impact of the foods we eat on the function of our genes. Hepatosteatosis is strongly associated with hepatitis C virus infection, which is known to increase the risk of the disease progression and reduce the likelihood of responding to anti- virus treatment. It is well documented that hepatitis C virus can directly alter host cell lipid metabolism through nuclear transcription factors. To date, only a limited number of studies have been on the effect of human foods on the nuclear transcription factors of hepatitis C virus -induced hepatosteatosis.
Three nutrients, selected among 46 different nutrients: β-carotene, vitamin D2, and linoleic acid were found in a cell culture system to inhibit hepatitis C virus RNA replication. In addition, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) especially arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have been demonstrated to inhibit hepatitis C virus RNA replication. These PUFAs, in particular the highly unsaturated n-3 fatty acids change the gene expression of PPARa and SREBP, suppress the expression of mRNAs encoding key metabolic enzymes and hereby suppress hepatic lipogenesis and triglyceride synthesis, as well as secretion and accumulation in tissues. A recent prospective clinical trial of 1,084 chronic hepatitis C patients compared to 2,326 healthy subjects suggests that chronic hepatitis C patients may benefit from strict dietary instructions.
Increasing evidence suggest that some crucial nuclear transcription factors related to hepatitis C virus -associated hepatosteatosis and hepatitis C virus RNA itself can be controlled by specific anti- hepatitis C virus nutrition. It seems important that these findings are taken into account and specific nutritional supplements developed to be used in combination with interferon as adjunctive therapy with the aim to improve both the early as well as the sustained virological response.