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Evaluation of methods for hepatitis C virus detection in archival liver biopsies. Comparison of histology, immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridization, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in-situ RT-PCR


Evaluation of methods for hepatitis C virus detection in archival liver biopsies. Comparison of histology, immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridization, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in-situ RT-PCR



Pathology Research and Practice 190(11): 1017-1025



ISSN/ISBN: 0344-0338

PMID: 7538215

To evaluate reliable methods for detection of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in routinely processed liver biopsies we analyzed formaldehyde-fixed and paraffin-embedded liver specimens of 10 patients with serological confirmed HCV infection. We compared (1) conventional histology; (2) indirect immunofluorescence using the mAb TORDJI-22 (Clonatec, Paris, France); (3) RT-PCR using total RNA and Southern blotting with chemiluminescent detection; (4) non-radioactive in-situ hybridization (ISH) with digoxigenin-labeled oligo- and cRNA probes; (5) direct in-situ RT-PCR with incorporation of labeled nucleotides into PCR-products, and (6) indirect in-situ RT-PCR using subsequent ISH for the visualization of intracellular PCR-products. Our results indicate that: (1) using the histological criteria described by Lefkowitch et al. [Gastroenerology 1993;104:595] together with clinical data, most chronic HCV infections can be diagnosed by conventional histology, if liver biopsies specimens are adequate; (2) the commercially available mAb TORDJI-22 appears to crossreact with non-HCV epitopes, resulting in false positives; (3) molecular methods performed on routinely fixed and processed liver biopsies frequently yield false negative results due to sampling problems, low viral copy number and RNA degradation in infected cells; (4) analysis of HCV-RNA by RT-PCR of extracted total RNA is more sensitive than indirect in-situ RT-PCR or ISH; and (5) direct in-situ RT-PCR is not reliable despite the use of modifications such as DNase pretreatment and hot-start procedures. It is concluded, that several molecular methods for HCV detection must await further improvements of protocols to be suitable for routine diagnostics on paraffin-embedded liver biopsies.

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