Human immune deficiency virus (HIV) and human hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are frequent in patients who have been exposed to blood or blood-derived products. It has been suggested that HIV infection increases HCV replication altering the course of HCV-related disease. However, it is not known if HIV directly enhances HCV replication or if its effect is the consequence of HIV infection of other cell types that control HCV replication (lymphocytes, macrophages). While the main cell targets for HIV infection are mononuclear leukocytes bearing CD4 and the chemokine receptors CCR5 and CXCR4, HCV was originally thought to be strictly hepatotropic, but it is now known that HCV can also replicate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Therefore, in co-infected individuals, these two different viruses could share cell targets and interact either directly or indirectly. Some membrane receptors can be used by both HCV and HIV for entry into target cells, but the intracellular mechanisms shared by these viruses are not known. Lack of experimental systems providing suitable methods for the study of HCV replication in the presence or absence of HIV coinfection has hampered advances in this research area, but recent investigations are currently going on in order to answer these questions. This is an important issue, as knowledge of HIV/HCV interactions is required for the design of effective antiviral therapies.
Keywords: dendritic cells (DC), C-lectin receptors (CLR), T lymphocytes, Impaired immune response, human hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport