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J Hepatol. 1997 Aug;27(2):276-83.

Prevalence and clinical and histological manifestation of hepatitis G/GBV-C infections in patients with elevated aminotransferases of unknown etiology.

Author information

1
Medizinische Klinik II, University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Hepatitis G virus (HGV) and hepatitis GB virus-C (GBV-C) are recently identified non-A-E hepatitis-associated viruses. The prevalence of HGV/GBV-C in the general population is high (1.0-1.7%), but data on the clinical and histological manifestations of the new viruses are sparse. In the present study we investigated the prevalence and clinical and histological manifestation of HGV/GBV-C infections in patients with elevated aminotransferase levels of unknown etiology.

METHODS:

In 52 of 630 consecutive patients referred for evaluation of elevated aminotransferases the underlying liver disease remained unknown. Serum samples of these 52 patients with elevated aminotransferase levels of unknown etiology were tested for HGV/GBV-C RNA by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using primers deduced from nonstructural regions. Cloned PCR products were sequenced and compared by phylogenetic analysis.

RESULTS:

HGV/GBV-C RNA was consistently detected in 7 of the 52 patients (13%). Sequence and phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of only one subtype, with nucleotide sequence homologies between 86 and 91%. All seven patients had persistent viremia for at least 9 months. In six patients liver function test results normalized, and alanine aminotransferase levels remained persistently elevated in only one patient. Four HGV/GBV-C positive and ten HGV/GBV-C negative patients consented to a liver biopsy, which revealed similar results with minimal to mild chronic hepatitis and mild portal fibrosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence of HGV/GBV-C infections in patients with elevated aminotransferases of unknown etiology is low. Since clinical, biochemical and histomorphologic features of patients with elevated aminotransferases of unknown etiology with and without HGV/GBV-C infection are indistinguishable, the role of HGV/GBV-C in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease appears insignificant.

PMID:
9288601
DOI:
10.1016/s0168-8278(97)80172-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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