• autophagy;
  • hepatitis B virus;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • therapeutic application;
  • virus replication

Summary.  Autophagy is a very tightly regulated process that is important in many cellular processes including development, differentiation, survival and homoeostasis. The importance of this process has already been proven in numerous common diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Emerging data indicate that autophagy plays an important role in some liver diseases including liver injury induced by ischaemia reperfusion and alpha-1 antitrypsin Z allele-dependent liver disease. Autophagy may also occur in viral infection, and it may play a crucial role in antimicrobial host defence against pathogens, while supporting cellular homoeostasis processes. Here, the latest findings on the role of autophagy in viral hepatitis B and C infection, which are both serious health threats, will be reviewed.