Clinical characteristics of acute hepatitis E and their correlation with HEV genotype 3 subtypes in Italy

Claudia Minosse, Elisa Biliotti, Daniele Lapa, Alessia Rianda, Mauro Marchili, Ilaria Luzzitelli, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Fiona McPhee, Anna Rosa Garbuglia, Gianpiero D’offizi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genotype 3 (GT3) is responsible for most European autochthonous hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections. This study analyzed circulating genotypes and GT3 subtypes in the Lazio region, Italy, between 2011 and 2019, as well as their pathogenic characteristics. Of the 64 evaluable HEV GT3 patient‐derived sequences, identified subtypes included GT3f (n = 36), GT3e (n = 15), GT3c (n = 9), GT3a (n = 1) and three unsubtyped GT3 sequences. GT3c strains were similar to Dutch sequences (96.8–98.1% identity), GT3e strains showed high similarity (96.8%) with a United Kingdom sequence, while the most related sequences to GT3f Italian strains were isolated in France, Belgium and Japan. One sequence was closely related to another Italian strain isolated in raw sewage in 2016. The liver functioning test median values for 56 evaluable GT3 patients were: alanine aminotransferase (ALT), 461 (range 52–4835 U/L); aspartate aminotransferase (AST), 659 (range 64– 6588 U/L); and total bilirubin, 3.49 (range 0.4–33 mg/dL). The median HEV RNA viral load for 26 evaluable GT3 patients was 42,240 IU/mL (range 5680–895,490 IU/mL). Of the 37 GT3 patients with available clinical information, no correlation was observed between HEV clinical manifestations and GT3 subtype. HEV symptoms were comparable among GT3c/e/f patients across most analyzed categories except for epigastric pain, which occurred more frequently in patients with HEV GT3e (75%) than in patients with GT3c (50%) or GT3f (19%) (p = 0.01). Additionally, patients with HEV GT3c exhibited significantly higher median international normalized ratio (INR) than patients with GT3e and GT3f (p = 0.033). The severity of GT3 acute hepatitis E was not linked to HEV RNA viral load or to the GT3 subtype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number832
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Acute viral hepatitis
  • Genotype 3
  • Hepatitis E virus
  • Molecular characterization
  • Subtype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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