Molecular Pathogenesis of Liver Steatosis Induced by Hepatitis C Virus

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Liver steatosis is a pathological hallmark in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Increased lipid uptake, decreased lipid secretion, increased lipid synthesis and decreased lipid degradation are all involved in pathogenesis of steatosis induced by hepatitic C virus (HCV) infection. Level of low density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-R) and activity of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α is related to liver uptake of lipid from circulation, and affected by HCV. Secretion via microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP), and formation of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) have been hampered by HCV infection. Up-regulation of lipid synthesis related genes, such as sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP)-1, SREBP-2, SREBP-1c, fatty acid synthase (FASN), HMG CoA reductase (HMGCR), liver X receptor (LXR), acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1), hepatic CB (1) receptors, retinoid X receptor (RXR) α, were the main stay of liver steatosis pathogenesis. Degradation of lipid in liver is decreased in patients with CHC. There is strong evidence that heterogeneity of HCV core genes of different genotypes affect their effects of liver steatosis induction. A mechanism in which steatosis is involved in HCV life cycle is emerging.

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