Published online May 7, 2007. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i17.2427
Revised: December 28, 2006
Accepted: February 12, 2007
Published online: May 7, 2007
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In man, the pathobiological changes associated with HCV infection have been attributed to both the immune system and direct viral cytopathic effects. Until now, the lack of simple culture systems to infect and propagate the virus has hampered progress in understanding the viral life cycle and pathogenesis of HCV infection, including the molecular mechanisms implicated in HCV-induced HCC. This clearly demonstrates the need to develop small animal models for the study of HCV-associated pathogenesis. This review describes and discusses the development of new HCV animal models to study viral infection and investigate the direct effects of viral protein expression on liver disease.