Published online Aug 28, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i32.5122
Revised: May 15, 2006
Accepted: May 22, 2006
Published online: August 28, 2006
The present review gives an updated overview of transfusion transmitted virus (TTV), a novel agent, in relation to its molecular characteristics, epidemiological features, modes of transmission, tissue tropism, pathogenesis, role in various diseases and its eradication from the body. TTV, a DNA virus, is a single stranded, non-enveloped, 3.8 kb long DNA virus with a small and covalently closed circular genome comprising 3852 bases. It was tentatively designated Circinoviridae virus. TTV genome sequence is heterogeneous and reveals the existence of six different genotypes and several subtypes. TTV has been reported to transmit not only via parenteral routes, but also via alternate routes. This virus has been detected in different non-human primates as well. At present, TTV is detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with no other available diagnostic assays. It shows its presence globally and was detected in high percent populations of healthy persons as well as in various disease groups. Initially it was supposed to have strong association with liver disease; however, there is little evidence to show its liver tropism and contribution in causing liver diseases. It shows high prevalence in hemodialysis patients, pointing towards its significance in renal diseases. In addition, TTV is associated with several infectious and non-infectious diseases. Although its exact pathogenesis is not yet clear, TTV virus possibly resides and multiplies in bone marrow cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Recently, attempts have been made to eradicate this virus with interferon treatment. More information is still needed to extricate various mysteries related to TTV.