Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is commonly attributed as a major cause of chronic hepatotropic diseases, such as, steatosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. As HCV infects only humans and primates, its narrow host tropism hampers in vivo studies of HCV-mammalian host interactions and the development of effective therapeutics and vaccines. In this context, we will focus our discussion on humanized mice in HCV research. Here, these humanized mice are defined as animal models that encompass either only human hepatocytes or both human liver and immune cells. Aspects related to immunopathogenesis, anti-viral interventions, drug testing and perspectives of these models for future HCV research will be discussed.
Keywords: cirrhosis; hepatitis C virus; hepatocellular carcinoma; hepatotropic disease; humanized mice; liver; steatosis.