Identification of sapovirus GV.2, astrovirus VA3 and novel anelloviruses in serum from patients with acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology

PLoS One. 2017 Oct 5;12(10):e0185911. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185911. eCollection 2017.


Hepatitis is a general term meaning inflammation of the liver, which can be caused by a variety of viruses. However, a substantial number of cases remain with unknown aetiology. We analysed the serum of patients with clinical signs of hepatitis using a metagenomics approach to characterize their viral species composition. Four pools of patients with hepatitis without identified aetiological agents were evaluated. Additionally, one pool of patients with hepatitis E (HEV) and pools of healthy volunteers were included as controls. A high diversity of anelloviruses, including novel sequences, was found in pools from patients with hepatitis of unknown aetiology. Moreover, viruses recently associated with gastroenteritis as sapovirus GV.2 and astrovirus VA3 were also detected only in those pools. Besides, most of the HEV genome was recovered from the HEV pool. Finally, GB virus C and human endogenous retrovirus were found in the HEV and healthy pools. Our study provides an overview of the virome in serum from hepatitis patients suggesting a potential role of these viruses not previously described in cases of hepatitis. However, further epidemiologic studies are necessary to confirm their contribution to the development of hepatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anelloviridae / classification
  • Anelloviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / blood
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / virology*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Mamastrovirus / classification
  • Mamastrovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Phylogeny
  • Sapovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Viremia / blood*
  • Viremia / classification

Grants and funding

The study reported here was partially funded by the Programa RecerCaixa 2012 (ACUP-00300), AGL2011-30461-C02-01/ALI and AGL2014-55081-R from Spanish MINECO. This study was partially funded by a grant from the Catalan Government to Consolidated Research Group VirBaP (2014SRG914), the JPI Water project METAWATER (4193-00001B) and with the collaboration of the Institut de Recerca de l’Aigua (IdRA). During the development of this study, Eloy Gonzales-Gustavson is a fellow of the Peruvian Government; Natalia Timoneda is a fellow of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Xavier Fernandez-Cassi was a fellow of the Catalan Government “AGAUR” (FI-DGR).