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PLOS ONE  2014 

HIV Infection of Hepatocytes Results in a Modest Increase in Hepatitis C Virus Expression In Vitro

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083728

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Abstract:

Previous studies demonstrate that soluble HIV proteins impact both hepatocyte function and HCV replication in vitro. It has also been reported that HIV can productively infect hepatocytes. We therefore investigated the impact of HIV infection of hepatocytes on HCV expression. The Huh7.5JFH1 cell line that constitutively expresses infectious HCV was infected with the lab-adapted strains HIVNL4-3 or HIVYK-JRCSF. HCV expression was quantified via HCV core antigen ELISA, Western blot, and strand-specific real-time PCR for positive-sense and negative-sense HCV RNA. After HIVNL4-3 infection of Huh7.5JFH1 cells, positive-sense and negative-sense HCV RNA levels were elevated compared to HIV uninfected cells. Increased HCV RNA synthesis was also observed after infection of Huh7.5JFH1 cells with HIVYK-JRCSF. HIV-induced HCV core production was decreased in the presence of the anti-HIV drugs AZT, T20, and raltegravir, although these medications had a minimal effect on HCV expression in the absence of HIV. HCV core, NS3, and NS5A protein expression were increased after HIV infection of Huh7.5JFH1 cells. Chemically inactivated HIV had a minimal effect on HCV expression in Huh7.5JFH1 cells suggesting that ongoing viral replication was critical. These data demonstrate that HIV induces HCV RNA synthesis and protein production in vitro and complement previous in vivo reports that HCV RNA levels are elevated in individuals with HIV/HCV co-infection compared to those with HCV mono-infection. These findings suggest that HIV suppression may be a critical factor in controlling liver disease, particularly if the underlying liver disease is not treated.

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