Occult hepatitis c virus infection in beta thalassemia major: is it a mysterious infection?
,1 Amir hossein nafari
,2 Shiva irani
,3 Farzam vaziri
,4 Seyed davar siadat
,5 Abolfazl fateh
1. Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran
2. Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
3. Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
4. Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran
6. Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran
Occult hepatitis c virus (hcv) infection (oci) is described as the presence of the viral genome in both hepatocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (pbmcs), despite constant negative results from tests for serum hcv rna. beta thalassemia major (btm) is a group of inherited blood disease. these patients require repeated blood transfusions, which increases the risk to infectious agents. in this study, we assessed the prevalence of oci in iranian btm patients and the role of host factors in oci positivity.
A total of 181 btm patients with hcv negative markers were selected. hcv-rna was tested in pbmcs using nested-pcr and then the positive samples were genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphism (rflp) and sequencing of 5′-untranslated region (5′utr).
Out of 181 btm patients, hcv viral genome was found in pbmc samples of six (3.3%) patients. among six oci patients, three (50.0%), two (33.3%), and one (16.7%) patients were infected with hcv-1b, hcv-1a, and hcv-3a, respectively. there were significantly association between oci positivity with abo blood groups (p = 0.032) and serum uric acid (p = 0.045).
In conclusion, we revealed the low frequency of oci in btm patients. nevertheless, this infection can be important and need to pay more attention. further studies are needed to indicate the true prevalence of oci among btm patients in iran.
Occult hepatitis c virus infection, beta thalassemia major, abo blood groups, serum uric acid