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The Role of Humoral Innate Immunity in Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Author(s): Alexander W. Tarr | Richard A. Urbanowicz | Jonathan K. Ball

Journal: Viruses
ISSN 1999-4915

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: innate immunity | hepatitis C virus | complement | defensin | pentraxin | collectin | mannose binding lectin | ficolin | pathogenesis | fibrosis

Infection with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) causes chronic disease in approximately 80% of cases, resulting in chronic inflammation and cirrhosis. Current treatments are not completely effective, and a vaccine has yet to be developed. Spontaneous resolution of infection is associated with effective host adaptive immunity to HCV, including production of both HCV-specific T cells and neutralizing antibodies. However, the supporting role of soluble innate factors in protection against HCV is less well understood. The innate immune system provides an immediate line of defense against infections, triggering inflammation and playing a critical role in activating adaptive immunity. Innate immunity comprises both cellular and humoral components, the humoral arm consisting of pattern recognition molecules such as complement C1q, collectins and ficolins. These molecules activate the complement cascade, neutralize pathogens, and recruit antigen presenting cells. Here we review the current understanding of anti-viral components of the humoral innate immune system that play a similar role to antibodies, describing their role in immunity to HCV and their potential contribution to HCV pathogenesis.
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