Molecular epidemiology of TT virus in Italy and phylogenesis of viral isolates from subjects at different risk for parenteral exposure

Gianguglielmo Zehender, Aldo Manzin, Chiara De Maddalena, Chiara Colasante, Laura Solforosi, Federica Corsi, Anna Bianchi-Bosisio, Mauro Girotto, Ivan Schirru, Umberto Russo, Massimo Galli, Massimo Clementi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence and genotype distribution of human TT virus (TTV) in Italy were analysed in 593 subjects at different risk of parenteral infection who included blood donors, patients with chronic type C hepatitis (HCV), thalassemic patients, patients on haemodialysis, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-negative intravenous drug users (IVDUs), and HIV-1-infected subjects (IVDUs, heterosexual contacts and homosexual males). Plasma TTV-DNA was detected using nested PCR with primers deduced from the N22 region of the open reading frame 1 (ORF-1) and from the untranslated region (UTR) of the viral genome. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences obtained from ORF-1 was also undertaken. A high prevalence of plasma TTV-DNA was observed using the UTR primers, with rates varying from 83-100% in the study groups. Using the N22 primers, HIV-1 positive IVDUs and homosexual males, haemodialysed patients and thalassemic patients had a significantly higher TTV prevalence (range: 23.0-86.1%) than blood donors, who displayed a high frequency of positivity (10.6%). Sequence analysis of 127 N22-positive isolates revealed that 42.5% were of type 1, 53.5% of type 2, 2.4% of type 3, and that two isolates (1.6%) were closely related to genotypes 1-2 but distinct from the other major genotypes. TTV-2 was significantly more prevalent in patients at high risk for parenteral infection and in HIV-1 positive homosexuals. In sequential samples from 15 TTV-infected subjects, N22 sequences were detectable persistently in 12 (80.0%) and UTR sequences persisted in all 15 patients over a mean period of 29.6 months. This data indicates that TTV is widespread in Italy in parenterally exposed subjects, and that the infection frequently persists. (C) 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Blood donors
  • HIV-1 positive individuals
  • TTV genotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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