Persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of liver diseases, including chronic hepatitis C, progressive liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Chronic hepatitis C is strongly associated with lipid accumulation in the hepatocytes. A significant percentage of chronic HCV patients suffer from diabetes and steatosis. Accumulating evidence indicates a strong relationship between lipid metabolism and HCV proliferation. HCV contains lipoprotein components in its envelope, a unique characteristic that results in the lower buoyant density of HCV virions than those of other enveloped viruses. The incorporation of lipoprotein components is required for viral infection. During the egress of HCV, host factors, such as microsomal triglyceride transfer protein, play some role in the association between lipoprotein and a precursor form of HCV. In this chapter, we summarize how HCV uses the processes of lipid metabolism and discuss the importance of lipoprotein components in the viral lifecycle.
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