Published online Sep 28, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i21.2319
Peer-review started: June 15, 2015
First decision: August 4, 2015
Revised: August 21, 2015
Accepted: September 7, 2015
Article in press: September 8, 2015
Published online: September 28, 2015
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a hepatotropic DNA virus and its infection results in acute or chronic hepatitis. It is reported that the host innate immune system contributes to viral control and liver pathology, while whether and how HBV can trigger the components of innate immunity remains controversial. In recent years, the data accumulated from HBV-infected patients, cellular and animal models have challenged the concept of a stealth virus for HBV infection. This editorial focuses on the current findings about the innate immune recognition to HBV. Such evaluation could help us to understand HBV immunopathogenesis and develop novel immune therapeutic strategies to combat HBV infection.
Core tip: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is prevalent worldwide as a major public health problem and the leading cause of severe liver diseases. A plethora of evidence suggests that innate immune pathways are involved in the cross-talk between HBV components and host immune cells. Many type of cells, including hepatocytes, kupffer cells and circulating monocytes, could sense and be activated by HBV infection through specific pathogen recognition receptors, resulting in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and interferons. Understanding of the nature of innate immunity induced by HBV will aid to characterize the immunopathogenesis of HBV infection and to further design novel immune-based therapeutic strategies for HBV infection.