Highly sensitive competitive PCR (cPCR) and competitive reverse transcription PCR (cRT-PCR) methodologies were recently developed and applied for quantifying vital DNA and RNA species (including HCV RNA) present in clinical samples at low concentration. In this study, we used cRT-PCR to compare the vital load of 118 untreated patients with HCV infection and different clinical conditions (80 patients with chronic hepatitis, 18 infected subjects with persistently normal ALT levels and various degrees of liver injury, 10 HCV infected subjects that tested positive for anti-LKM1 antibodies, and 10 patients with HCV infection and cryoglobulinemia). The results indicate that while great individual variability of HCV viremia is detectable even among patients with similar clinical conditions, the mean HCV RNA copy number in samples from patients with different clinical conditions was similar in all groups with the single exception of patients that tested positive for anti-liver-kidney microsomal auto-antibodies type 1 (anti-LKM1); interestingly, lower HCV viremia levels were revealed in these anti-LKM1-positive cases with liver disease of uncertain pathogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology