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Hepatitis C virus particles of different density in the blood of chronically infected immunocompetent and immunodeficient patients: Implications for virus clearance by antibody

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wanna Pumeechockchai, Professor Debra Bevitt, Dr Kaushik Agarwal, Professor Margaret Bassendine, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Toms


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The purpose of this study was to analyse the influence of the humoral immune response on the generation and clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA containing particles in the blood of chronically infected patients. Blood samples were fractionated by sequential flotation ultracentrifugation and HCV RNA was recovered in three fractions: low density of < 1.063 g/ml, intermediate density of 1.0631.21 g/ml,and high density of > 1.21 g/ml. Serum low-density lipoproteins co-fractionated with the low-density particles, and high-density lipoproteins co-fractionated with the intermediate-density particles. Immunoglobulins were found exclusively in the high-density fractions. In patients with congenital immunodeficiencies, with no or low serum antibodies to the virus, mean HCV RNA titres were equal in each fraction, at approximately 105 IU/ml. In antibody-positive, immunocompetent patients, however, virus titres in the low-density fraction and those in the high-density fraction were reduced or absent in most patients, suggesting that virus particles in these fractions are subject to antibody-mediated clearance. Particles of intermediate density were approximately equal in titre in both patient groups, suggesting that these particles are neither generated by, nor cleared, as a result of the humoral immune response. Immunoprecipitation experiments indicated that particles of intermediate density were not complexed with either high-density lipoprotein or immunoglobulins. Elucidation of the mechanisms by which these particles are generated and maintained in the blood may provide valuable insight into the mechanism of virus persistence. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pumeechockchai W, Bevitt D, Agarwal K, Petropoulou T, Langer BCA, Belohradsky B, Bassendine MF, Toms GL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Medical Virology

Year: 2002

Volume: 68

Issue: 3

Pages: 335-342

ISSN (print): 0146-6615

ISSN (electronic): 1096-9071

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing


DOI: 10.1002/jmv.10208

PubMed id: 12226819


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