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Pathogenesis (HCV); Carrier State Related to Host Response
Infectious Disease Weekly via NewsPage : Hepatitis C virus carrier state appears more related to host response than to a particular hepatitis C virus pattern, according to a report from France.

Several recent studies support the existence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) healthy carriers, characterized by HCV viremia (serum HCV RNA), repeatedly normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values (three months to 2 years) and normal liver histology.

In this study researcher M. Debette and colleagues sought to characterize these patients at the virological level. They reported their findings at the 46th annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, held November 3-7, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois. Fourteen subjects exhibiting criteria of HCV healthy carriers, and 15 patients with HCV chronic hepatitis (as proved by liver biopsy and elevated ALT levels) were included in the study: HCV was genotyped by Inno-Lipa assay (Innogenetics) according to Simmond's nomenclature and quantified in sera by Amplicor HCV Monitor (Roche laboratories).

HCV RNA was detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) by cDNA/PCR after extraction of HCV genome by the guanidinium thiocyanate method and extractions with phenol-chloroform.

"In contrast with a previous study, no significant correlation was observed between a HCV healthy carrier state and a predominant genotype: 1a (n=5, 36 percent), 1b (n=6, 43 percent), 2a (n=1), 4a (n=1)," Debette et al. wrote. "HCV RNA serum levels were similar among HCV healthy carriers as patients with HCV chronic hepatitis: 57 +/- 31 SD (range 14 - 141) versus 65 +/- 67 SD (range 0.4 - 248) 10(4) copies/ml. HCV RNA was detected in all the PBMCs of the HCV healthy carriers (10 of 10) and the patients with HCV chronic hepatitis (10 of 10). "HCV healthy carrier state may be observed among all main HCV genotypes and is not correlated with a particular HCV viremia level. As in patients with HCV chronic hepatitis, HCV RNA is constantly detected in PBMCs. These results suggest that HCV healthy carrier state is more related to host response than to a particular hepatitis C virus pattern."

Source: Infectious Disease Weekly
The corresponding author for this study is M. Debette, Center de Transfusion Sanguine, 34000 Montpellier, France.

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