Quantitative analysis of GBV-C RNA in liver and serum by strand-specific reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction

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Although GB virus C (GBV-C) is frequently detectable in patients with liver diseases, it is not known whether it actually replicates in the liver. Therefore we have quantitatively examined the strand-specific RNA of this virus.


Fourteen patients (two GBV-C RNA only seropositive, seven both GBV-C RNA and HCV RNA seropositive, and five HCV RNA only seropositive) were examined. Extracted RNAs from sera and liver specimens of these patients were serially diluted and strand-specific RNAs of GBV-C and HCV were quantitatively measured using strand-specific primers by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.


Positive-strand GBV-C RNA in serum was detected in all nine GBV-C RNA seropositive cases, and negative-strand RNA was detected in three, uncertain in three, and undetected in three. Positive-strand GBV-C RNA in the liver was detected in seven and undetected in two, while negative-strand RNA in the liver was undetected in eight and uncertain in one. On the other hand, positive-strand HCV RNA was detected in serum from all 12 HCV RNA seropositive patients and negative-strand HCV RNA was detected in one, uncertain in seven, and undetected in four. Positive-strand HCV RNA was detected in the liver from all 12 HCV RNA seropositive patients, and the presence of negative-strand HCV RNA in the liver was confirmed in 10 and uncertain in the remaining two.


GBV-C is considered to be far less hepatotropic than HCV, and it is suggested that GBV-C might not be replicating in the liver.

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