Recently a novel DNA virus, designated TT virus (TTV), that possibly accounts for some of the cases of liver disease of unknown aetiology, was identified in Japanese patients. Using specific primer pairs for conserved regions, we detected TTV DNA by PCR in 16/84 (19%) German patients awaiting orthotopic liver transplantation because of decompensated liver cirrhosis (of diverse causes); in 4/25 (16%) patients with non-A-G hepatitis; in 1/7 patients with autoimmune hepatitis; and in one intravenous drug user. Sequence analysis showed that in contrast to the findings in Japanese patients only about 37% of our TTV sequences belonged to genomic group 1 but about 58% belonged to group 2, including several sequences belonging to a further subgroup tentatively designated group 2c. Further studies to clarify whether the novel virus has hepatitis-inducing capacity or other clinical significance are needed.


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