'Liver let die': oxidative DNA damage and hepatotropic viruses

Martin Higgs, Phillipe Chouteau, Hervé Lerat

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Chronic infections by the hepatotropic viruses hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are major risk factors for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It is estimated that more than 700 000 individuals per year die from HCC, and around 80 % of HCC is attributable to HBV or HCV infection. Despite the clear clinical importance of virus-associated HCC, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely elusive. Oxidative stress, in particular DNA lesions associated with oxidative damage, play a major contributory role in carcinogenesis, and are strongly linked to the development of many cancers, including HCC. A large body of evidence demonstrates that both HBV and HCV induce hepatic oxidative stress, with increased oxidative DNA damage being observed both in infected individuals and in murine models of infection. Here, we review the impact of HBV and HCV on the incidence and repair of oxidative DNA damage. We begin by giving a brief overview of oxidative stress and the repair of DNA lesions induced by oxidative stress. We then review in detail the evidence surrounding the mechanisms by which both viruses stimulate oxidative stress, before focusing on how the viral proteins themselves may perturb the cellular response to oxidative DNA damage, impacting upon genome stability and thus hepatocarcinogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-1004
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number5
Early online date1 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


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