Susceptibility of human liver cell cultures to hepatitis C virus infection
To develop a cell culture system susceptible to infection by hepatitis C virus (HCV), human fetal hepatocytes, grown in serum-free medium, were inoculated with serum samples from two HCV-infected patients. Viral RNA sequences were detected by polymerase chain reaction, using primers specific for the 5′ noncoding region of HCV, in extracts prepared from the hepatocyte cultures as early as 5 days after inoculation. Virus was also released from the infected cells into the medium. The HCV strains could be serially passaged three times into fresh liver cell cultures using intracellular virus as inoculum. Evidence that HCV replication really took place in primary human fetal hepatocytes was also obtained by detection of minus-strand viral RNA (replication intermediate) in cell extracts and of viral antigens in the infected cells.
KeywordsHepatocyte Culture Human Liver Cell Fetal Liver Cell Liver Cell Culture Fetal Hepatocyte
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