Date of this Version
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 309: G566–G577, 2015.
Alcohol consumption in patients infected with HCV exacerbates liver injury, leading to rapid progression to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma (34). Alcohol consumption significantly reduces responsiveness of patients with HCV to antiviral treatment. The mechanism by which alcohol consumption increases the severity of HCV infection is unclear. In this regard, the possibility of synergistic effects of HCV and alcohol on HCV spread and liver injury progression cannot be excluded because hepatocytes are primary sites for HCV replication and ethanol metabolism, both of which suppress innate immunity in liver cells.