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Scientists create humanized mouse model for hepatitis C
Date:6/8/2011

titute tested whether introducing some of these previously identified human genes into mice would allow them to infect the animals with the hepatitis C virus. The researchers compared two groups of mice: one group expressed two genes, CD81 and occludin, while mice in the second group were normal. They found that expression of human CD81 and human occludin in the mouse liver rendered the animals susceptible to HCV infection. Ploss and his colleagues also developed a novel reporter system, which allowed them to sensitively detect HCV infection in living animals.

"We have established a precedent for applying mouse genetics to dissect viral entry and validate the role of scavenger receptor type B class 1, a molecule that is being considered as a novel antiviral drug target, for HCV uptake in a living animal," says Charles M. Rice, Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor and head of the Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease at Rockefeller. Rice also is executive and scientific director of the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, an interdisciplinary center established jointly by The Rockefeller University, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College.

Worldwide at least 130 million people are chronically infected with HCV, which poses a risk of severe liver injury and liver cancer. Current treatments are only partially effective and have considerable side effects, and a vaccine against hepatitis C does not exist.

"The global HCV epidemic mandates the development of more effective therapeutics including a vaccine," says Ploss. "This mouse model is a first step toward a platform that effectively serves this purpose."


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Contact: Joseph Bonner
bonnerj@rockefeller.edu
212-327-8998
Rockefeller University
Source:Eurekalert

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