Section 9
Chapter 8,766

Hepatitis C Viral Quasispecies in Hepatitis C Virus Carriers With Normal Liver Enzymes and Patients With Type C Chronic Liver Disease

Naito, M.; Hayashi, N.; Moribe, T.; Hagiwara, H.; Mita, E.; Kanazawa, Y.; Kasahara, A.; Fusamoto, H.; Kamada, T.

Hepatology 22(2): 407-412


ISSN/ISBN: 0270-9139
PMID: 7635407
DOI: 10.1002/hep.1840220206
Accession: 008765420

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been reported to conform to a quasispecies nature, which is most evident in hypervariable regions of the putative envelope 2 domain. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between the nucleotide complexity and diversity of hypervariable region 1 and various stages of the carrier states. The subjects studied were 20 HCV carriers with normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, 50 patients with chronic hepatitis who showed elevated ALT levels, 22 with cirrhosis, and 24 with hepatocellular carcinoma. The quasispecies complexity was analyzed by means of polymerase chain reaction-mediated single strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP). The value of nucleotide diversity was calculated by PCR cloning and sequencing. The number of SSCP bands ranged from 1 to 7, with no significant differences in the mean numbers among the stages of HCV infection. There was no correlation between the amounts of serum HCV RNA and the numbers of SSCP bands. No significant difference was found in the values of nucleotide diversity between carriers with normal ALT levels (mean, 6.6 times 10-2 per site) and patients with chronic hepatitis (7.7 times 10-2). These findings suggest that the quasispecies complexity of hypervariable region 1 is independent of the stage of chronic HCV infection.

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