Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family. HCV-infected hepatocytes are known to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which initiate lipid peroxidation, a reaction that converts polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as arachidonate, into reactive carbonyls that inactivate proteins. To study the effect of lipid peroxidation on HCV replication, we administered arachidonate to Huh7 cells that harbor an HCV replicon (Huh7-K2040 cells). After incubation in medium supplemented with arachidonate but deprived of lipid-soluble antioxidants, the cellular amount of malondialdehyde (MDA), a product of lipid peroxidation, increased markedly in Huh7-K2040 cells but not in parental Huh7 cells that do not harbor an HCV replicon. This increase was followed by a sharp reduction (>95%) in HCV RNA. Both of these events were prevented when cells were treated with vitamin E, a lipid-soluble antioxidant. After prolonged incubation of Huh7-K2040 cells with arachidonate in the absence of lipid-soluble antioxidants, the amount of MDA decreased after the reduction in the amount of HCV RNA. Thus, in the presence of arachidonate and in the absence of lipid-soluble antioxidants, HCV replication induces lipid peroxidation that reduces the amount of HCV RNA. Our results provide a mechanism for the previous observation that polyunsaturated fatty acids inhibit HCV replication [Kapadia SB, Chisari FV (2005) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:2561-2566], and they suggest that these agents may be effective in inhibiting HCV replication in vivo.