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Persistent Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Microscale Primary Human Hepatocyte Cultures

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a major public health problem, affecting approximately 130 million people worldwide. HCV infection can lead to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and end-stage liver disease, as well as extrahepatic complications such as cryoglobulinemia and lymphoma. Development of targeted antivirals has been hampered by the lack of robust HCV cell culture systems that reliably predict human responses. Here, we show the entire HCV life cycle recapitulated in micropatterned cocultures (MPCCs) of primary human hepatocytes and supportive stroma in a multiwell format (HepatoPac™). MPCCs form polarized cell layers expressing all known HCV entry factors and sustain viral replication for several weeks. When coupled with highly sensitive fluorescence- and luminescence-based reporter systems, MPCCs have potential as a high-throughput platform for simultaneous assessment of in vitro efficacy and toxicity profiles of anti-HCV therapeutics.

 

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