HCV-RNA assay in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in relation to IFN therapy
Hepatitis C virus RNA (HCV-RNA) was serially assayed in the serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 10 patients with chronic hepatitis C who underwent interferon (IFN) therapy, and whether detection of HCV-RNA from PBMC serves as an index of the response of chronic hepatitis C to IFN therapy was evaluated. HCV-RNA was assayed by reversed transcription and polymerase chain reaction using the 5′-noncoding region as a primer. IFN therapy was effective in 3 patients and ineffective in the other 7 patients. HCV-RNA disappeared from the serum during and immediately after the IFN therapy in all 3 patients in whom the therapy was effective and in 3 of 7 patients in whom the therapy was ineffective. HCV-RNA desappeared from PBMC in all 3 patients in whom the therapy was effective, but PBMC HCV-RNA remained positive in 6 of the 7 patients in whom the therapy was ineffective, and the serum HCV-RNA became positive again in 5 of these 6 patients after 6 months. The disappearance of HCV-RNA from PBMC was associated with long-term stabilization of the serum alanine aminotransferase value, so HCV-RNA assay in PBMC is considered to be useful as a prognostic marker of chronic hepatitis C after IFN therapy.
Key wordsChronic hepatitis C PBMC IFN HCV-RNA
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