Histopathology of hepatitis C virus infection

Semin Liver Dis. 1995 Feb;15(1):70-81. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1007264.


Hepatitis C can cause a range of hepatic histopathology. The virus may cause an acute hepatitis indistinguishable from any other acute viral hepatitis, but it is more likely to be associated with steatosis, bile duct injury, and portal lymphoid aggregates. Chronic infection with hepatitis C can range from mild nonspecific changes, presumably representing a hepatitis C carrier state, to end-stage liver disease with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Between these are chronic hepatitis of varying severity. Steatosis, portal lymphoid aggregates, and bile duct injury, while not specific, are very characteristic of chronic hepatitis C. Reputed precursors of hepatocellular carcinoma, including liver cell dysplasia and adenomatous hyperplasia, frequently follow the development of cirrhosis and are presumed to predispose to the development of malignancy. New techniques for localizing the virus in liver tissue will undoubtedly lead to greater understanding of the pathogenesis of hepatitis C-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Chronic Disease
  • Hepatitis C / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology