Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Pathology, Gomhoria st, Mansoura, Egypt.
Purpose: To investigate the problem of occult HCV & HBV infections in patients with persistently longstanding abnormal liver function test results of unknown etiology and to investigate occult HCV in patients with sustained virological response (SVR). Methods: The study included two groups; first group included 40 patients with persistently longstanding abnormal liver function test, in addition to 62 patients with history of hepatitis C who developed SVR. HCV RNA status was tested in serum by conventional RT-PCR and by real-time PCR in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs). HBV DNA in PBMCs was done in first group only. Results: In first group, PCR in PBMCs was positive for HCV RNA in 4 patients with elevated liver enzymes and HBV DNA was positive in PBMCs in 3 patients. In patients with SVR, 7 patients were positive for HCV RNA in PBMCs. Conclusions: Patients with long-standing abnormal results of liver-function tests with unknown etiology may have HCV RNA or HBV DNA in their PBMCs in the absence of anti-HCV antibodies, HBV markers, serum HBV DNA and serum HCV RNA.In Patients with SVR, HCV RNA in PBMCs is recommended to detect residual infection especially in those with high serum HCV RNA levels before treatment.
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