Chimpanzees represent the only animal model for studies of the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV). To generate virus stocks of important HCV variants, we infected chimpanzees with HCV strains of genotypes 1-6 and determined the infectivity titer of acute-phase plasma pools in additional animals. The courses of first- and second-passage infections were similar, with early appearance of viremia, HCV RNA titers of >10(4.7) IU/mL, and development of acute hepatitis; the chronicity rate was 56%. The challenge pools had titers of 10(3)-10(5) chimpanzee infectious doses/mL. Human liver-chimeric mice developed high-titer infections after inoculation with the challenge viruses of genotypes 1-6. Inoculation studies with different doses of the genotype 1b pool suggested that a relatively high virus dose is required to consistently infect chimeric mice. The challenge pools represent a unique resource for studies of HCV molecular virology and for studies of pathogenesis, protective immunity, and vaccine efficacy in vivo.