Infection of peripheral mononuclear blood cells by hepatitis C virus

J Hepatol. 1992 Jul;15(3):382-6. doi: 10.1016/0168-8278(92)90073-x.


We investigated the infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) by hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 5 patients with HCV-related chronic hepatitis. The presence of HCV-RNA-positive and -negative strands was tested with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. In all subjects, HCV-RNA was shown in PBMNC. In 3 cases, HCV-RNA was shown in the T- and B-cell populations, with viral RNA also present in the monocyte-macrophage fraction of two of these. HCV-RNA-negative stranded molecules, indicative of the viral multiplication, were significantly increased in cells maintained in cultures with PHA/PMA stimulation. The results indicate that HCV infect blood mononuclear cells, thus suggesting that this cellular tropism may play a role in HCV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV / isolation & purification
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis C / blood*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • RNA, Viral / genetics


  • RNA, Viral