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Towards modeling hepatitis E virus' replication in the intestine

20 january 2023

Towards modeling hepatitis E virus' replication  in the intestine
© unpublished data, J. Marlet, INSERM U1259
Figure 1: Marking of the hepatitis E virus in the colon of infected pigs

INSERM U1259 (Julien Marlet) coordinates the Ecopi project funded by ANRS-MIE. This project aims to develop an innovative model of in vitro HEV infection in human intestinal organoids.

The hepatitis E virus is a pathogen that replicates in the liver and is responsible for chronic hepatitis in immunocompromised patients. Infection with this virus occurs through the ingestion of undercooked meat, especially pork. The persistent extrahepatic replication of this virus in the intestinal compartment during chronic hepatitis E could be associated with the pathogenesis of this disease. The model of HEV infection in the intestinal organoid will in particular make it possible to study the pathogenicity of HEV variants identified during chronic infection, as well as the innate immune response in the intestinal compartment.

This 2-year project and the associated postdoctoral contract were funded under the ANRS-MIE call for generic projects 2023-1. The Ecopi project brings together two teams from the FéRI network, the INRAe ISP unit (I. Caballero-Posadas) and the INSERM U1259 unit (J. Marlet). A third partner ensures the production of organoids (INSERM U1235, University of Nantes).