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Abstract

Persistent infection of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Searching for a substance with anti-HCV potential, we examined the effects of a variety of compounds on HCV replication using a HCV subgenomic replicon cell culture system. Consequently, the immunosuppressant cyclosporin A (CsA) was found to have a suppressive effect on the HCV replicon RNA level and HCV protein expression in these cells. CsA also inhibited multiplication of the HCV genome in a cultured human hepatocyte cell line infected with HCV using HCV-positive plasma. This anti-HCV activity of CsA appeared to be independent of its immunosuppressive function. In conclusion, our results suggest that CsA may represent a new approach for the development of anti-HCV therapy.