Acta Medica Medianae
No 1, 2002
YU ISSN 0365-4478
Institut za zaštitu zdravlja u Nišu
HEPATITIS C VIRUS INFECTION -
VIRUSOLOGICAL AND PATHOPHYSIOLOGICAL ASPECT
Dobrila STANKOVIĆ-ĐORĐEVIĆ, Marica OTAŠEVIĆ,
Gordana TASIĆ, Marina DINIĆ and Biljana MILJKOVIĆ-SELIMOVIĆ
Institute for Health Protection,
Hepatitis C virus is a spherical particle, of icosahedral symmetry of
the capsid with the lipid jacket. The virus genome is one-chain (+) RNK.
Structural virus proteins are the following: protein of nucleocapsid and
two glycoproteins of the jacket (El and E2). The E2 protein that induces
a synthesis of neutralizing antibodies is antigenic-variable.
Non-structural virus proteins (RNK polymerase, helicase, protease and
others) have a regulatory function in the replication process. The HCV
is replicated in hepatocytes and probably in T and B lymphocytes as
well. The replication is done at a low level; that is why the virus
antigens are present in the serum in un-measurable concentrations.
The cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes have a dominant role in the
pathogenesis of the hepatocyte lesion and in the virus elimination. In
over 70% of the patients, after an acute infection, the HCV sets up a
persistent infection causing a chronic liver disease with progressive
course. The setting-up of the persistent HCV infection is a consequence
of the mutations in the E2 gene that are giving rise to changes in the
anti-receptor virus structure. Due to low titer of the virus antigens in
the serum, the active HCV inflection can be proved only on the basis of
the presence of the RNK sequence of the virus genome by the PCR method.
Recent research of the HCV infection is directed towards discovering the
epitope as the candidate for the HCV infection.
Key words: Hepatitis C virus, HCV replication, HCV viremia,
pathogenesis of hepatitis C, diagnosis of hepatitis C, HCV vaccine