Viral determinants and host immune responses in the pathogenesis of HBV infection
Jefferson T., Traversa G.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a virus that infects about 350,000,000 people worldwide with a clinical spectrum of acute hepatitis, the healthy carrier state, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The outcome of HBV infection is the result of complicated viral-host interactions. As in other infections with non-cythopatic viruses, the immune response is thought to play a crucial role in disease pathogenesis but there is increasing evidence that a variety of viral mechanisms, some depending on the function of virally encoded proteins, have a profound impact on the infected hepatocytes, the liver microenvironment, and host anti-viral responses. Indeed, the virus has evolved multiple mechanisms to ensure its success in infecting a susceptible host. The essential aspects of the life cycle of HBV and the host immune response are reviewed and recent new developments in the molecular virology of HBV, including experimental animal models, in the role of accessory viral proteins in disease pathogenesis and HCC development and in the characterisation of the T cell response in the control of HBV infection, are highlighted. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.