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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Human cell types important for Hepatitis C Virus replication in vivo and in vitro. Old assertions and current evidence

Dennis Revie1* and Syed Zaki Salahuddin2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, California Lutheran University, 60 W. Olsen Rd., Thousand Oaks, California, 91360 USA

2 Basic Research, California Institute of Molecular Medicine, 1879 Portola Rd., Unit J, Ventura, California, 93003 USA

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:346  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-346

Published: 11 July 2011


Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a single stranded RNA virus which produces negative strand RNA as a replicative intermediate. We analyzed 75 RT-PCR studies that tested for negative strand HCV RNA in liver and other human tissues. 85% of the studies that investigated extrahepatic replication of HCV found one or more samples positive for replicative RNA. Studies using in situ hybridization, immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, and quasispecies analysis also demonstrated the presence of replicating HCV in various extrahepatic human tissues, and provide evidence that HCV replicates in macrophages, B cells, T cells, and other extrahepatic tissues. We also analyzed both short term and long term in vitro systems used to culture HCV. These systems vary in their purposes and methods, but long term culturing of HCV in B cells, T cells, and other cell types has been used to analyze replication. It is therefore now possible to study HIV-HCV co-infections and HCV replication in vitro.