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Abnormalities of lipid metabolism in hepatitis C virus infection
  1. Francesco Negro
  1. Divisions of Clinical Pathology and of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Francesco Negro, Divisions of Clinical Pathology and of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital, rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1211 Genève 4, Switzerland; francesco.negro{at}


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a human pathogen responsible for acute and chronic liver disease, infecting an estimated 130–170 million persons worldwide. An intriguing feature of HCV infection is its peculiar relationship with lipids: (1) HCV virions circulate in serum bound to lipoproteins; (2) lipids have been shown to modulate (and, indeed, are essential to) the HCV life cycle; and (3) an occasionally severe accumulation of triglycerides is found in a distinct subgroup of patients in the form of hepatic steatosis. As a result, lipid metabolism is overall altered, conferring an idiosyncratic profile to HCV infection. The scope of this review is to discuss these aspects, focusing on both their molecular mechanisms and their clinical consequences.

  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • steatosis
  • fatty acid metabolism
  • cirrhosis
  • antiviral therapy
  • insulin resistance
  • chronic hepatitis
  • fatty liver
  • lipid metabolism
  • lipoprotein-cholesterol

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  • Funding The author's experimental work cited in the text is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grants 3200B0-103727/1 and 320000-116544) and by a research award from the Leenaards Foundation.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.