The northern treeshrew (Tupaia belangeri) has been reported to be an effective candidate for animal infection model with hepatitis B virus (HBV). The objective of our study was to analyze the growth characteristics of HBV in tupaia hepatocytes and the host response to HBV infection. We established primary tupaia hepatocytes (3-6-week old tupaia) and infected them with HBV genotypes A, B and C, and all the genotypes proliferated as well as those in human primary hepatocytes (>105 copies/ml in culture supernatant). We next generated a chimeric mouse with tupaia liver by transplantation of tupaia primary hepatocytes to urokinase-type plasminogen activator cDNA (cDNA-uPA)/severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice and the replacement ratio with tupaia hepatocytes was found to be more than 95%. Infection of chimeric mice with HBV (genotypes B, C, and D) resulted in HBV-DNA level of 104-106 copies/ml after 8 weeks of infection, which were almost similar to that in humanized chimeric mouse. In contrast, serum HBV level in adult tupaia (1-year-old tupaia) was quite low (<103 copies/ml). Understanding the differences in the response to HBV infection in primary tupaia hepatocytes, chimeric mouse, and adult tupaia will contribute to elucidating the mechanism of persistent HBV infection and viral eradication. Thus, T. belangeri was found to be efficient for studying the host response to HBV infection, thereby providing novel insight into the pathogenesis of HBV.
Sanada, T., Tsukiyama-Kohara, K., Yamamoto, N., Ezzikouri, S., Benjelloun, S., Murakami, S., … Kohara, M. (2016). Property of hepatitis B virus replication in Tupaia belangeri hepatocytes. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 469(2), 229–235. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.11.121