• dendritic cells;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • vaccine development


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has chronically infected an estimated 170 million people worldwide. There are many impediments to the development of an effective vaccine for HCV infection. Dendritic cells (DC) remain the most important antigen-presenting cells for host immune responses, and are capable of either inducing productive immunity or maintaining the state of tolerance to self and non-self antigens. Researchers have recently explored the mechanisms by which DC function is regulated during HCV infection, leading to impaired antiviral T-cell responses and so to persistent viral infection. Recently, DC-based vaccines against HCV have been developed. This review summarizes the current understanding of DC function during HCV infection and explores the prospects of DC-based HCV vaccine. In particular, it describes the biology of DC, the phenotype of DC in HCV-infected patients, the effect of HCV on DC development and function, the studies on new DC-based vaccines against HCV infection, and strategies to improve the efficacy of DC-based vaccines.