Hepatic and extrahepatic hepatitis C virus replication in relation to response to interferon therapy

Hepatology. 1994 Dec;20(6):1399-404. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840200604.


Response to a 1-yr course of interferon-alpha 2b was assessed in 18 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection in relation to clinical, biochemical and histological parameters and to the presence or absence of hepatitis C virus RNA and the presumed replicative form of the virus (negative-strand hepatitis C virus RNA) in serum, liver and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The findings were compared with those in seven untreated patients studied over the same period. At the start of the study, positive-strand hepatitis C virus RNA was found in sera of all 25 patients, in livers of 24 and in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells of 19 of 22 tested; negative strand was found in livers of 11 and in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells of 15 of 22. Negative-strand hepatitis C virus RNA was not found in the serum of any patient at any stage. All of the five treated patients considered to show complete response during the study period cleared hepatic hepatitis C virus RNA, and four also became seronegative, but three had evidence suggestive of viral replication in their peripheral-blood mononuclear cells; two of these last patients subsequently relapsed. Loss of hepatic hepatitis C virus RNA was the only significant difference between these five and the seven partial and six nonresponders, but it is uncertain whether the observed changes were due specifically to interferon-induced modulation of virus expression because similar (apparently spontaneous) changes were seen in four of the untreated patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis C / therapy
  • Hepatitis C / virology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Liver / virology*
  • Lymphocytes / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Virus Replication*


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins