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J Med Virol. 2000 May;61(1):52-8.

Evidence that the GBV-C/hepatitis G virus is primarily a lymphotropic virus.

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Department of Medical Microbiology/SAIMR, University of Cape Town, Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa.


GB virus-C and the hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV) are variants of the same positive sense RNA flavivirus, initially thought to be associated with hepatitis. The tissue tropism of GBV-C/HGV in normal subjects has not been evaluated to date using an extended tissue spectrum. Therefore, the sites of GBV-C/HGV replication were investigated in serum and twenty-three tissues collected during post-mortem examination of four apparently healthy individuals who died accidental deaths, who were infected with GBV-C/HGV. All were anti-HIV and anti-HCV negative and three out of four were HBsAg negative. Tissues were collected carefully to prevent cross contamination. A highly strand-specific RT-PCR assay was employed for the detection of either GBV-C/HGV positive strand RNA (virion) or negative strand RNA (replicative intermediary). Strand specificity of the RT-PCR assay was assessed with synthetic positive-and negative strand GBV-C/HGV RNA generated from a plasmid, using T7 and T3 RNA polymerases. The spleen and bone marrow biopsies were found to be uniformly positive for both negative-and positive strand GBV-C/HGV RNA. In addition, one cadaver was positive for both RNA strands in the kidney, and another positive for both in the liver. No negative strand RNA was detected in the following: brain, muscle, heart, thyroid, salivary gland, tonsil, lung, lymph nodes, gall bladder, pancreas, oesophagus, stomach, small bowel, large bowel, adrenal gland, gonad, aorta, skin and cartilage. This preliminary study concludes that GBV-C/HGV is a lymphotropic virus that replicates primarily in the spleen and bone marrow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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