Our research sets out to make use of mouse models to study fundamental aspects of viral replication and the interaction of the innate immune system with HBV, HCV, HEV or LCMV as a surrogate virus. The ultimate goal is to identify critical viral or immune components, which tip the balance towards chronicity instead of self-resolving acute infection.
In our endeavor to unravel innate cellular immune responses against human hepatitis viruses, we apply two different mouse models:
- Mice with chimeric livers reconstituted by human hepatocytes. In these animals genuine hepatitis B, C and E viruses are inoculated. These animals are immune deficient to prevent rejection of the human hepatocyte graft.
- The natural mouse pathogen lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) induces, apart from a systemic viral infection, chronic liver inflammation that is cleared after a variable period of several weeks.