TITLE: Serum and liver HCV RNA levels in patients with chronic
hepatitis C: correlation with clinical and histological
Background-Liver disease in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV)
infection ranges from minimal lesions to Liver cirrhosis,
eventually evolving to hepatocellular carcinoma. Whether and how
HCV determines the different clinical and histological
manifestations of the disease is not fully understood.
Aims-To verify whether the amount of virus in individual
patients could be related to the severity of liver injury.
Patients and methods-Levels of HCV RNA were measured in serum in
96 consecutive patients with chronic hepatitis type C using a
signal amplification assay. The relation between viraemic values
and the corresponding viral load in the liver was assessed in a
subgroup of 21 patients in whom HCV RNA was measured in serum
samples and liver specimens obtained at the same time.
Results-A positive correlation was observed between the amount
of viral nucleic acid in the two compartments, indicating that
levels of viraemia reflect the amount of virus present in the
liver. Viral load did not correlate with aminotransferase
activities nor with histological diagnosis, and serum and liver
levels of HCV RNA were not significantly different in patients
infected by the various HCV genotypes.
Conclusions-Measurement of HCV replication in serum is a mirror
of viral replication in the liver. The extent of replicative
activity of HCV does not seem to play a role in the modulation of
the associated hepatic disease.
AUTHOR: De Moliner L, Pontisso P, De Salvo GL, Cavalletto L,
Chemello L, Alberti A
SOURCE: GUT 42: (6) 856-860 JUN 1998
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