Dysfunction of the virus-specific T cells is a cardinal feature in chronic persistent viral infections such as one caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV). In chronic HCV infection, virus-specific dysfunctional CD8 T cells often overexpress various inhibitory receptors. Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) was the first among these inhibitory receptors that were identified to be overexpressed in functionally impaired T cells. The roles of other inhibitory receptors such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing molecule 3 (Tim-3) have also been demonstrated in T-cell dysfunctions that occur in chronic HCV patients. Blocking these inhibitory receptors in vitro restores the functions of HCV-specific CD8 T cells and allows enhanced proliferation, cytolytic activity and cytokine production. Therefore, the blockade of the inhibitory receptors is considered as a novel strategy for the treatment of chronic HCV infection.