Journal of cellular and molecular medicine 2017 07 18() doi 10.1111/jcmm.13273
From viral binding to the hepatocyte surface to extracellular virion release, the replication cycle of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) intersects at various levels with lipid metabolism; this leads to a derangement of the lipid profile and to increased viral infectivity. Accumulating evidence supports the crucial regulatory role of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) in lipoprotein metabolism. Notably, a complex interaction between HCV and PCSK9 has been documented. Indeed, either increased or reduced circulating PCSK9 levels have been observed in HCV patients; this discrepancy might be related to several confounders, including HCV genotype, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection and the ambiguous HCV-mediated influence on PCSK9 transcription factors. On the other hand, PCSK9 may itself influence HCV infectivity, inasmuch as the expression of different hepatocyte surface entry proteins and receptors is regulated by PCSK9. The aim of this review is to summarize the current evidence about the complex interaction between HCV and liver lipoprotein metabolism, with a specific focus on PCSK9. The underlying assumption of this review is that the interconnections between HCV and PCSK9 may be central to explain viral infectivity.