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 26 May 2018

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News

Hep C replicates in peripheral blood mononuclear cells

Hepatitis C replicates in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with occult Hep C infection and although these patients do not have serum Hep C-RNA, they could be potentially infectious, finds a study reported in the latest Gut.

News image

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Occult hepatitis C virus infection is characterised by the presence of Hepatitis C-RNA in the liver in the absence of anti-Hepatitis C, and serum viral RNA.

Up to 70% of these patients also have Hepatitis C-RNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells but it is not known if Hepatitis C is replicating in these cells.

Dr Carreño studied possible Hepatitis C replication in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 18 patients with an occult Hepatitis C infection who were selected on the basis of Hepatitis C-RNA positivity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

The research team detected Hepatitis C-RNA positive and negative strands in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

The results were detected by strand specific reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and by in situ hybridisation.

The team confirmed the presence of Hepatitis C-RNA positive strand in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in all patients.

3 % of peripheral blood mononuclear cells were harbouring the Hepatitis C-RNA negative strand
Gut

The mean percentage of peripheral blood mononuclear cells which had the Hepatitis C-RNA positive strand was 3%.

The researchers found that the Hepatitis C-RNA negative strand was in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 61 % patients.

Again, this was detected by strand specific reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and confirmed by in situ hybridization.

In addition, the investigators observed that the percentage of peripheral blood mononuclear cells harbouring the Hepatitis C-RNA negative strand was 3 %.

There was a significant correlation between the percentage of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with the Hepatitis C-RNA positive strand and that of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with the Hepatitis C-RNA negative strand.

Dr Carreño concludes, "Hepatitis C replicates in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with occult Hepatitis C infection."

"Thus, although these patients do not have serum Hepatitis C-RNA, they could be potentially infectious."

Gut 2005: 54: 682-685
22 April 2005

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