1887

Abstract

Primary human hepatocytes were used to develop a culture model for propagation of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Production of positive- strand full-length viral RNA in cells and culture supernatants was monitored by PCR methods targeting three regions of the viral genome: the 5′ NCR, the 3′ X-tail and the envelope glycoprotein E2. synthesis of negative-strand RNA was also demonstrated. Evidence for a gradual increase in viral components over a 3 month period was obtained by two quantitative assays: one for evaluation of genomic titre (quantitative PCR) and one for detection of the core antigen. Production of infectious viral particles was indicated by passage of infection to naive hepatocyte cultures. Reproducibility of the experiments was assessed using cultures from three liver donors and eleven sera. Neither the genotype, nor the genomic titre, nor the anti-HCV antibody content, were reliable predictive factors of serum infectivity, while the liver donor appeared to play a role in the establishment of HCV replication. Quasispecies present in hepatocyte cultures established from three different liver donors were analysed by sequencing hypervariable region 1 of the E2 protein. In all three cases, the complexity of viral quasispecies decreased after infection, but the major sequences recovered were different. These data strongly suggest that human primary hepatocytes are a valuable model for study of persistent and complete HCV replication and for identification of the factors (viral and/or cellular) associated with successful infection.

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1999-11-01
2019-10-17
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