Host immune response in chronic hepatitis C infection: involvement of cytokines and inflammasomes

Vol. 61 No. 1, 2020


Mihail Virgil Boldeanu, Isabela Silosi, Andreea Lili Barbulescu, Raluca Elena Sandu, Cristiana Geormaneanu, Vlad Padureanu, Mircea Vasile Popescu-Driga, Ioan Sabin Poenariu, Cristian Adrian Silosi, Anca Marilena Ungureanu, Anda Lorena Dijmarescu, Lidia Boldeanu

Chronic liver disease is a major health issue worldwide and chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is associated with an increased risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There is evidence that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is correlated with immune senescence by way of immune activation and chronic inflammation, which lead to increased metabolic and cardiovascular risk, as well as progressive liver damage. Both the innate and adaptive immunity are firmly tied to the prognosis of an infection with HCV and its response to antiviral therapy. HCV is therefore associated with increased pro-inflammatory status, heightened production of cytokines, prolonged systemic inflammation, as well as increased morbidity and mortality, mainly due to the progression of hepatic fibrosis and HCC, but also secondary to cardiovascular diseases. Viral hepatic pathology is increasingly considered a disease that is no longer merely limited to the liver, but one with multiple metabolic consequences. Numerous in vitro studies, using experimental models of acute or chronic inflammation of the liver, has brought new information on immunopathological mechanisms resulting from viral infections and have highlighted the importance of involving complex structures, inflammasomes complex, in these mechanisms, in addition to the involvement of numerous proinflammatory cytokines. Beyond obtaining a sustained viral response and halting the aforementioned hepatic fibrosis, the current therapeutic treat-to-target strategies are presently focused on immune-mediated and metabolic disorders, to improve the quality of life and long-term prognosis of CHC patients.

Corresponding author: Andreea Lili Barbulescu, Lecturer, MD, PhD; e-mail:; Cristian Adrian Silosi, Lecturer, MD, PhD; e-mail:

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.61.1.04 Download PDF