Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 53–72

Innate immune responses in hepatitis C virus infection



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major causative agent of chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide and thus poses a significant public health threat. A hallmark of HCV infection is the extraordinary ability of the virus to persist in a majority of infected people. Innate immune responses represent the front line of defense of the human body against HCV immediately after infection. They also play a crucial role in orchestrating subsequent HCV-specific adaptive immunity that is pivotal for viral clearance. Accumulating evidence suggests that the host has evolved multifaceted innate immune mechanisms to sense HCV infection and elicit defense responses, while HCV has developed elaborate strategies to circumvent many of these. Defining the interplay of HCV with host innate immunity reveals mechanistic insights into hepatitis C pathogenesis and informs approaches to therapy. In this review, we summarize recent advances in understanding innate immune responses to HCV infection, focusing on induction and effector mechanisms of the interferon antiviral response as well as the evasion strategies of HCV.


Interferon RIG-I Toll-like receptor JaK-STAT pathway Interferon-stimulated gene Immune evasion Hepatitis C virus 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Immunology and BiochemistryUniversity of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Inflammatory Diseases Institute, and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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