(HealthDay News) – Liver-like cells produced from an individual’s own cells can support the entire life cycle of hepatitis C virus, potentially making it possible to study why people respond differently to the virus, according to a study published online January 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Robert E. Schwartz, M.D. Ph.D., from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and colleagues examined whether hepatocyte-like cells produced by the differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells could be infected by hepatitis C virus.

The researchers found that the hepatocyte-like cells could support the entire life cycle of the virus, including infection, replication, and production of infectious virions. In addition, infection induced an antiviral inflammatory response.

“We believe that this study lays the foundation for personalized in vitro models that can capture genetic variation of both host and pathogen, whereby induced pluripotent stem cells can be generated from identified patients with known or unknown genetic defects that impact infection,” Schwartz and colleagues conclude.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)