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Am J Clin Pathol. 2003 Jan;119(1):95-100.

Detection of extrahepatic hepatitis C virus replication by a novel, highly sensitive, single-tube nested polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Microbiological Sciences Branch, Northeast Regional Laboratory, US Food and Drug Administration, Jamaica, NY, USA.


We established a cell culture system for the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by using human T and B leukemia cell lines. These 2 cell lines were infected in vitro by using HCV-positive pooled patient serum samples. HCV RNA was extracted from infected cell lines at different times after infection, and a sequence of the virus 5' untranslated region was analyzed. Hepatitis C minus-strand RNA was detected in the infected cell lines by highly strand-specific rTth (recombinant Thermus thermophilus DNA polymerase)-based reverse transcription followed by a novel, highly sensitive, single-tube nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. PCR products were analyzed by direct DNA sequencing. These results indicate that the HCV can replicate in T and B lymphocytes. This model should represent a valuable tool for the detailed study of the initial steps of the HCV replication cycle and for the evaluation of antiviral molecules.

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