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, 39 (1), 50-62

Chemokines in Hepatitis C Virus Infection: Pathogenesis, Prognosis and Therapeutics


Chemokines in Hepatitis C Virus Infection: Pathogenesis, Prognosis and Therapeutics

Ori Wald et al. Cytokine.


Hepatitis C virus infection and its associated liver inflammatory disease is a major global health problem affecting over 170 million people worldwide. Following viral infection, multiple pro-inflammatory mediators contribute to recruitment of immune cells to the liver and to the generation of an anti-viral immune response. However, when this vigorous immune response fails to eliminate the virus, chronic infection is established. This in turn, results in an ongoing process of inflammation, regeneration and fibrosis that in many cases leads to the development of cirrhosis and of hepatocellular carcinoma. Multiple recent publications mark chemokines and their receptors as key players in leukocyte recirculation through the inflamed liver. Furthermore, chemokines may also be involved in liver regeneration, fibrosis, and in malignant transformation, which is induced by the persistence of inflammation. Accumulating data indicates that distinct chemokines and chemokine receptors may be associated with different stages of the chronic hepatitis C virus infection-associated liver disease. Multiple small molecules and peptide antagonizing chemokines and their receptors are in advanced phase 3 and phase 2 clinical trials. In the near future, such drugs are expected to enter clinical use raising the question whether they may be applicable for the treatment of chronic viral infection-associated liver disease. In this review, recent advances in understanding the role of chemokines and their receptors in the pathogenesis of chronic viral infection-associated liver disease are presented. Furthermore, the clinical implications of these novel findings, which mark chemokines as prognostic markers and therapeutic targets for immune-modulation during chronic liver viral infection, are documented.

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