Human chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections pose a significant public health threat, necessitating the development of novel treatments and vaccines. HCV infections range from spontaneous resolution to end-stage liver disease. Approximately 10-30% of HCV infections undergo spontaneous resolution independent of treatment by yet-to-be-defined mechanisms. These individuals test positive for anti-HCV antibodies in the absence of detectable viral serum RNA. To identify genes associated with HCV clearance, this study compared gene expression profiles between current drug users chronically infected with HCV and drug users who cleared their HCV infection. This analysis identified 91 differentially regulated (up- or downregulated by twofold or more) genes potentially associated with HCV clearance. The majority of genes identified were associated with immune function, with the remaining genes categorized either as cancer related or 'other'. Identification of factors and pathways that may influence virus clearance will be essential to the development of novel treatment strategies.
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