In vivo models of hepatitis B and C virus infection

FEBS Lett. 2016 Jul;590(13):1987-99. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12157. Epub 2016 Apr 8.


Globally, more than 500 million individuals are chronically infected with hepatitis B (HBV), delta (HDV), and/or C (HCV) viruses, which can result in severe liver disease. Mechanistic studies of viral persistence and pathogenesis have been hampered by the scarcity of animal models. The limited species and cellular host range of HBV, HDV, and HCV, which robustly infect only humans and chimpanzees, have posed challenges for creating such animal models. In this review, we will discuss the barriers to interspecies transmission and the progress that has been made in our understanding of the HBV, HDV, and HCV life cycles. Additionally, we will highlight a variety of approaches that overcome these barriers and thus facilitate in vivo studies of these hepatotropic viruses.

Keywords: hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; hepatitis delta virus; mouse models; surrogate models.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Hepatitis B / transmission
  • Hepatitis B / virology*
  • Hepatitis C / transmission
  • Hepatitis C / virology*
  • Hepatitis Viruses / physiology
  • Host Specificity
  • Humans
  • Species Specificity