Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology

Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology

Friday, 08 / 18 / 2017




Hepatitis C Virus RNA Strands Detection in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells Legitimizes Virus Eradication in Negative Serum PCR Naïve and Post-treatment Patients

Mohamed Darwish Ahmed Abd Alla*,1 and Mostafa Kamel El Awady2

1Tropical Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt; 2Department of Microbial Biotechnology, National Research Center, Cairo, Egypt

*Correspondence to: Mohamed Darwish Ahmed Abd Alla, El-Hussein University Hospital, Al-Azhar University, Gouhar Al-Kaed Street, Al-Darasah, Cairo 11675, Egypt. Tel: +20-109-417-5209, Fax: +20-2512-3091, E-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 2017;5(1):1-8 DOI: 10.14218/JCTH.2016.00054
Received: October 24, 2016 Accepted: February 3, 2017 Published: March 28, 2017


Background and Aims: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) hepatotropism is associated with intra-peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) infection that causes post-treatment relapse in RNA seronegative patients. Our understanding of the association of non-viremic hepatic fibrosis with positive anti-HCV IgG antibodies and active hepatocellular damage might be increased by PBMCs screening for intracellular infection. Thus, the goals of this study included evaluation of PBMCs PCR for diagnosing HCV infection, addressing PBMCs plus serum real-time (SRT) PCR benefits over SRT-PCR alone, studying intra-PBMCs distribution of RNA sense and antisense strands, and identifying treatment feasibility in solitary intracellular infection.

Methods: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, SRT-PCR and PBMCs PCR were used to evaluate HCV infection in 401 subjects. The patients were classified into groups of negative controls (n = 30), positive controls (n = 63), non-viremia post-treatment (experienced; n = 166) and naïve (n = 49) cases, and non-viremia positive PBMCs PCR naïve (n = 35) and experienced (n = 58) patients.

Results: The diagnosis of true positive and negative by PBMCs PCR and SRT-PCR had 100% and 96.7% compatibility respectively. PBMCs PCR detected intracellular HCV infection in 49 out of 215 non-viremia patients; among them, naïve cirrhotics had significantly higher number of intracellular infection than the naïve non-cirrhotic (p < 0.001) and experienced patients (p < 0.0001). Antisense and sense strands were respectively recognized in naïve and experienced cases (p = 0.01218). Intracellular HCV strands were detected in 18.02% of experienced patients. Recognition of intracellular RNA strands showed significant decline in experienced compared to naïve patients (p< 0.05).

Conclusion: PBMCs PCR is a valid diagnostic test that can diagnose intracellular HCV when SRT-PCR is negative. Antisense and sense strands are respectively recognized more often in naïve and experienced patients. The expected overall relapsing rate in our cohort was 18.02%. Intra-PBMC infections are associated with liver cirrhosis in naïve non-viremia patients. Eradication of intracellular strands is recommended to avoid RNA seroconversion.

Ethical approval certificate: Registration number 10231.


HCV, PBMCs, RNA, Strands


Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 2017 vol. 5, 1-8  Html ] [ PDF Full-text ]

© The Authors 2017. This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial (CC BY-NC) License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license.


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