Hepatitis C virus, cholesterol and lipoproteins--impact for the viral life cycle and pathogenesis of liver disease

Viruses. 2013 May 23;5(5):1292-324. doi: 10.3390/v5051292.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, including chronic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis C infection associates with lipid and lipoprotein metabolism disorders such as hepatic steatosis, hypobetalipoproteinemia, and hypocholesterolemia. Furthermore, virus production is dependent on hepatic very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) assembly, and circulating virions are physically associated with lipoproteins in complexes termed lipoviral particles. Evidence has indicated several functional roles for the formation of these complexes, including co-opting of lipoprotein receptors for attachment and entry, concealing epitopes to facilitate immune escape, and hijacking host factors for HCV maturation and secretion. Here, we review the evidence surrounding pathogenesis of the hepatitis C infection regarding lipoprotein engagement, cholesterol and triglyceride regulation, and the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Hepacivirus / metabolism
  • Hepacivirus / pathogenicity
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis C / pathology
  • Hepatitis C / virology*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Virus Assembly*
  • Virus Internalization*
  • Virus Release*


  • Lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol