Hepatitis G virus RNA in the serum of patients with elevated gamma glutamyl transpeptidase and alkaline phosphatase: a specific liver disease? [corrected]

J Viral Hepat. 1996 Nov;3(6):301-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.1996.tb00102.x.


We tested the sera of 67 consecutive patients for hepatitis G virus (HGV) RNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). These patients (42 males and 25 females, median age 35 years, range 13-64 years) had liver disease of unknown aetiology and were without markers of hepatitis (A-E) viruses or signs of genetically determined, autoimmune, alcoholic or drug-induced liver disease. The controls in this study were 110 patients (50 females and 60 males, median age 45 years, range 9-65 years) with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (19 patients) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (91 patients). Ten of 67 (14.9%) patients with cryptogenic disease were positive for HGV RNA by at least three separate tests; HGV RNA was also detected in one of 19 (5.3%) hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers and in nine of 91 (16.6%) patients with antibody to HCV. These data suggest that HGV occurs as frequently in HCV-infected patients as in those with cryptogenic disease. Elevated serum gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (gamma-GT) (higher than twice the normal value) and alkaline phosphatase levels were found in eight of 10 (80%) HGV RNA positive patients and in six of 57 (10.5%) HGV RNA negative patients (P < 0.0001). Five (50%) HGV RNA positive patients had non-specific inflammatory bile duct lesions. A statistically significant difference was observed between HGV RNA positive and negative patients with chronic HBV or HCV infections (P < 0.029). Therefore, the spectrum of liver disease associated with HGV is wide, but a characteristic lesion of the bile duct leading to elevation of cholestatic enzymes might be specific for this virus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Flaviviridae / genetics*
  • Flaviviridae / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / enzymology*
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / virology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / blood*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood*


  • RNA, Viral
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase