Opportunities for treating chronic hepatitis B and C virus infection using RNA interference

J Viral Hepat. 2007 Jul;14(7):447-59. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2006.00818.x.


Activating the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway to achieve silencing of specific genes is one of the most exciting new developments of molecular biology. A particularly interesting use of this technology is inhibition of defined viral gene expression. In this review, we discuss the potential application of RNAi to treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Globally, these hepatotropic viruses are the most important causes of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Available treatments have their limitations, which makes development of novel effective RNAi-based therapies for HBV and HCV especially significant. Several investigations carried out in vitro and in vivo are summarized, which demonstrate proof of principle that HBV and HCV can be inhibited by RNAi activators. Challenges facing further development of this technology to a stage of clinical application are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / metabolism
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / metabolism
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / therapy*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / virology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / therapy*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / therapeutic use*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins