Hepatitis C (Hcv) Essay

3005 words - 12 pages

Hepatitis C (HCV), a single stranded RNA virus from the family Flaviviridae, now accounts for more disease and death that does human immunodeficiency virus HIV/AIDS. Approximately 3 million individuals within the United States are currently suffering from what was once and unknown and untreatable virus. Non-A and non-B hepatitis are two forms of the virus that were prevalent back in the 1970’s. It was commonly acquired via blood transfusion as well as through hemodialysis methods of renal failure patients (Klevens et al., 2012). Today, the most common means of transmission are through intravenous drug use, needle stick injuries in a health care setting, and transmission from mother to fetus during birth (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013a).
Humans serve as the only natural host for Hepatitis C (Pawlotsky, 2004). They invasion of hepatitis C at the cellular level is not fully understood, but it is known that the virion infection is a multiphase process that includes virus entry, transcription of genomic RNA, translation of polyportein synthesis of negative strand RNA, followed by production of progeny genomic RNA and finally assembly and secretion of virons. When the virus invades the body, it targets the largest internal organ of the human body; the liver (Chang et al., 2012).
The liver is a functionally complex but a simple structure located on the right side of the body where it is attached to the diaphragm. It has two lobes with two blood supplies: the hepatic artery which takes in oxygen rich blood from the heart and the portal vein which supplies the liver with nutrient-rich blood from the digestive tract. These blood supplies merge into the sinusoids and then further to the hepatocytes and Kupper cells. The hepatocytes make up 80% of the liver and are associated with cell regeneration while the Kupper cells are macrophages lining the sinusoids and phagocytize foreign substances (Bishop et al., 2010).
The liver is involved in many functions of the body which are important for survival. It is the main filtering organ of the body and is involved in processes such a synthesis of plasma proteins, storage of glycogen for energy use as well as excretion, secretion and detoxification of products such as bilirubin, alcohol, cholesterol and drugs. Since the liver is the only organ to rid hemoglobin from the body, one of the most important functions it carries out is bilirubin metabolism. The heme component of hemoglobin is first converted to bilirubin by set of enzymes. It is then bound to albumin and transported to the liver hepatocytes where the enzyme uridyl diphosphate-glucoronyl transferase converts bilirubin into water soluble conjugated form so it can be excreted into the intestines. If the hepatocytes within the liver are damage due to invasion of HCV, bilirubin will not be able to be excreted thus resulting in the buildup of bile. When bile builds up, the skin turn to a yellowish color called jaundice. This usually...

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