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J Hepatol. 2001 Sep;35(3):399-405.

Quantitation of hepatic hepatitis C virus RNA in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Relationship with severity of disease, viral genotype and response to treatment.

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Service d'Hépatologie, Centre de Recherche Claude Bernard sur les Hépatites Virales, Hĵpital Beaujon AP-HP, Clichy, France.



To determine the correlation between hepatic hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and histological lesions, viral genotype or response to alpha interferon therapy.


Forty-three patients with chronic hepatitis C (14 sustained responders (SR) and 29 non-sustained responders (NSR)) were studied. A liver tissue sample was obtained before and 1 year after treatment. Quantitation of hepatic HCV-RNA was performed by competitive PCR.


Before treatment, HCV-RNA was detectable in all liver samples. There was no association between hepatic HCV-RNA and the severity of liver lesions. There was a significant association between old age and hepatic HCV-RNA (P = 0.03). There was an association, at the limit of significance, between genotype 1 and high hepatic HCV-RNA amounts (15 x 106 and 4.1 x 10(6) copies/g, P = 0.05). Pre-treatment hepatic HCV-RNA amounts were lower in SRs than in others (0.65 x 10(6) and 13.2 x 10(6) copies/g, P = 0.0002). After treatment, no liver HCV-RNA was detectable in the SRs while in the NSRs, the HCV-RNA amounts were unchanged.


The amount of hepatic HCV-RNA is correlated to genotype and response to interferon therapy but not to histologic lesions. Hepatic HCV-RNA clearance is observed in SRs, suggesting viral eradication.

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