Chronic consumption of ethanol has a dramatic effect on the clinical outcome of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but the mechanism linking these two pathologies is unknown. Presently, in vitro systems are limited in their ability to study the interaction between a productive wild-type HCV infection and chronic ethanol exposure. Mouse models are potentially very useful in dissecting elements of the HCV-ethanol relationship. Experiments in mice that transgenically express HCV proteins are outlined, as are experiments for the generation of mice with chimeric human livers. The latter models appear to have the most promise for accurately modeling the effects of chronic ethanol intake in HCV-infected human livers
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