Published online Jun 15, 2001. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v7.i3.370
Revised: October 3, 2000
Accepted: October 26, 2000
Published online: June 15, 2001
AIM: To study persistence and replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) cultured in vitro.
METHODS: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was used to transform the hepatitis C virus from a HCV positive patient to permanent lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL). Positive and negative HCV RNA strands of the cultured cells and growth media were detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) each month. Core and NS5 proteins of HCV were further tested using immunohistochemical SP method and in situ RT-PCR.
RESULTS: HCV RNA positive strands were consistently detected the cultured cells for one year. The negative-strand RNA in LCL cells and the positive-strand RNA in supernatants were observed intermittently. Immunohistochemical results medicated expression of HCV NS3 and C proteins in LCL cytoplasm mostly. The positive signal of PCR product was dark blue and mainly localized to the LCL cytoplasm. The RT-PCR signal was eliminated by overnight RNase digestion but not DNase digestion.
CONCLUSION: HCV may exist and remain functional in a cultured cell line for a long period.