Molecular characterization of HCV 1b intra-familiar infection through three generations

Claudio Argentini, Stefano Dettori, Laura Loiacono, Vincenzo Guadagnino, Tommaso Stroffolini, Maria Rapicetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vertical transmission is an uncommon route of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Little is known about the way of virus spread between relatives. Furthermore, the nucleotide sequence variability studies that can be used for the definition of cases of HCV transmission still need accurate standardization. In this study, we analyzed the HCV positive sera from subjects belonging to one family. Five out of seven individuals were positive both for anti-HCV and HCV-RNA. The epidemiological data, in our knowledge, excluded the possible risk of parenteral exposure to HCV for the members of the family. The genetic relatedness of the viruses infecting the members of this family was demonstrated by the phylogenetic analysis of sequences from E1 genome region. The analysis included the calculation of the genetic divergence specific index, based on the ratio of synonymous/nonsynonymous mutations. By the analysis of this genome region, we demonstrated the occurrence of HCV transmission among family members. In 2 cases out of 2, Mother-to-Infant transmission was demonstrated that involved three generations of the family. Transmission by sexual route was absent. A method of sequence analysis of E1 HCV genome region is proposed as molecular approach for the definition of transmission cases of HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalVirus Genes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • HCV
  • Phylogenesis
  • Sequencing
  • Standardization
  • Transmission
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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