Negative-Strand Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Anti-HCV--Positive/HIV-Infected Women

Laskus, Tomasz; Operskalski, Eva A.; Radkowski, Marek; Wilkinson, Jeffrey; Mack, Wendy J.; deGiacomo, Marina; Al-Harthi, Lena; Zhi Chen; Jiaao Xu; Kovacs, Andrea
January 2007
Journal of Infectious Diseases;1/1/2007, Vol. 195 Issue 1, p124
Academic Journal
Background. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been reported to replicate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), particularly in patients coinfected with HCV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, there are limited data regarding the prevalence of and the factors associated with extrahepatic replication. Methods. The presence of negative-strand HCV RNA in PBMCs was evaluated by a strand-specific assay for 144 anti-HCV-positive/HIV-infected women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. One to 5 PBMC samples obtained from each woman were tested. Multivariate analyses were used to assess for associations with the clinical and demographic characteristics of the women. Results. Negative-strand HCV RNA was detected in 78 (25%) of 315 specimens, and, for 61 women (42%), ⩾1 specimen was found to have positive results. The presence of negative-strand HCV RNA in PBMCs was significantly positively associated with an HCV RNA plasma level of ⩾6.75 log copies/mL (P = .04) and consumption of ⩾7 alcoholic drinks per week (P = .02). It was also negatively associated with injection drug use occurring in the past 6 months (P = .03). A negative association with a CD4+CD38+DR+ cell percentage of >10% and a positive association with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome were borderline significant (P = .05). Conclusions. HCV replication in PBMCs is common among HIV-coinfected women and appears to be a dynamic process related to lifestyle, virologic, and immunologic factors.


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