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Hepatic steatosis in hepatitis C is a storage disease due to HCV interaction with microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP)

Author(s): Mirandola Silvia | Bowman David | Hussain Mahmood | Alberti Alfredo

Journal: Nutrition & Metabolism
ISSN 1743-7075

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Liver steatosis is a frequent histological feature in patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). The relationship between HCV and hepatic steatosis seems to be the result of both epigenetic and genetic factors. In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that HCV can alter intrahepatic lipid metabolism by affecting lipid synthesis, oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, insulin resistance and the assembly and secretion of VLDL. Many studies suggest that HCV-related steatosis might be the result of a direct interaction between the virus and MTP. It has been demonstrated that MTP is critical for the secretion of HCV particles and that inhibition of its lipid transfer activity reduces HCV production. However, higher degrees of hepatic steatosis were found in chronic hepatitis C patients carrying the T allele of MTP -493G/T polymorphism that seems to be associated with increased MTP transcription. We propose here that liver steatosis in hepatitis C could be a storage disease induced by the effects of the virus and of its proteins on the intracellular lipid machinery and on MTP. Available data support the hypothesis that HCV may modulate MTP expression and activity through a number of mechanisms such as inhibition of its activity and transcriptional control. Initial up regulation could favour propagation of HCV while down regulation in chronic phase could cause impairment of triglyceride secretion and excessive lipid accumulation, with abnormal lipid droplets facilitating the "storage" of virus particles for persistent infection.
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