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J Hepatol. 1994 May;20(5):593-7.

Detection and quantification of hepatitis C virus RNA replication in the liver.

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  • 1Second Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


To investigate the correlation between the replication of hepatitis C virus in liver and the clinical and histopathological features, we detected and quantified plus and minus strands of HCV-RNA in plasma and in livers of patients with chronic hepatitis C by a quantitative polymerase chain reaction. RNA was extracted from the plasma and liver tissue of ten patients with biopsy-proven chronic hepatitis C. The plus and minus strands of HCV-RNA were detected by a strand-specific reverse transcription with either sense or anti-sense oligonucleotide primers deduced from the hepatitis C virus genome, and a standard HCV-RNA with an enzyme restriction site was used to quantify the amount of HCV-RNA. Both plus and minus strands of HCV-RNA were detected from the liver tissue of all patients included. The amount of plus-stranded HCV-RNA in the liver was 10 times higher than that of minus-stranded HCV-RNA. Plus-stranded HCV-RNA was detected in the plasma in all patients, while the minus strand was not detected in any patient. There was a weak correlation between the amount of both strands of HCV-RNA in the liver and that of the plus strand in plasma. There was no significant correlation between the amount of liver HCV-RNA and serum alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase levels, or histopathological findings in the liver. The present method of detecting and quantifying liver HCV-RNA is simple and sensitive; it may be used to detect residual hepatitis C virus replication after the disappearance of plasma HCV-RNA in acute hepatitis or in chronic hepatitis after interferon treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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