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J Virol. 1997 Feb;71(2):1732-4.

Structure of replicating hepatitis C virus (HCV) quasispecies in the liver may not be reflected by analysis of circulating HCV virions.

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Liver Unit, Department of Medicine, Hospital General Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autóma de Barcelona, Spain.


We have analyzed the population of hepatitis C virus (HCV) sequences in paired liver and serum samples from four patients with chronic hepatitis C. Sequences from three different biopsy specimens from a liver explant from one patient were compared with each other and with the circulating sequences. Our results demonstrate that the circulating quasispecies does not necessarily reflect the viral population replicating in the liver and that this is not due to a macroscopic anatomic compartmentalization of HCV replication. This finding has important implications for the pathogenesis and natural history of chronic HCV infection.

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