Viremia, genetic heterogeneity, and immunity to hepatitis G/GB-C virus in multiply transfused patients with thalassemia

R. Zemel, R. Dickman, H. Tamary, J. Bukh, R. Zaizov, R. Tur-Kaspa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Thalassemia patients are at high risk for posttransfusion hepatitis. Hepatitis G virus (HGV) has been suspected of being responsible for acute and chronic hepatitis. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The prevalence of HGV infection, its possible association to liver disease, the genetic heterogeneity among the various HGV isolates, and immunity to HGV were studied in 36 thalassemia patients with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay and sequence analysis. RESULTS: HGV RNA was detected in seven patients (19.4%), only two of whom had evidence of hepatitis C virus infection as well. Sequence analysis of the NS3 gene from isolates of the five patients infected with HGV alone revealed 84.7 to 90.9 percent homology at the nucleotide level. Prolonged HGV viremia was not associated with significant liver enzyme elevation. All five patients were chronically infected with the same viral strain. E2 antibodies were detected in 57 percent of the HGV-nonviremic patients and in only 1 of 7 viremic patients. CONCLUSION: HGV is associated with persistent viremia but not with significant biochemical evidence of liver damage. There is some genetic heterogeneity among HGV isolates from thalassemia patients in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-306
Number of pages6
JournalTransfusion
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

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