TT virus (TTV) lacks obvious pathogenicity; almost all of the infected hosts are symptom-free. A possibility remains, however, that certain strains can cause liver disease while most others are non-pathogenic. Genotypes 1 a and 1 b have been proposed to contain such pathogenic strains. To test this possibility, we constructed a PCR system capable of detecting TTV of the 1 a and 1 b genotypes differentially from the other genotypes, and compared the frequencies of these genotypes between patients with liver disease of unknown etiology (n=42) and healthy individuals (n=50). The assay comprised 3 steps: i) PCR to amplify a 3.2-kb fragment using universal primers; ii) 2nd-round PCR, starting from the 3.2-kb amplicon, for a ∼280-nt fragment by use of genotype 1-specific primers; and iii) digestion of the ∼280-nt amplicon with MboI and BanI to discriminate between 1 a and 1 b. Eventually, 40 (95%) of the patients and 47 (94%) of the controls were positive for the 3.2-kb amplicon, and the 1 a, 1 b, 1 a+1 b, and non-1 genotypes of TTV were found in 2 (5%) vs 4 (9 %), 5 (13%) vs 4 (9%), 1 (3%) vs 1 (2%) and 32 (80%) vs 38 (81%) of the 40 patients and 47 controls, respectively: the distribution was almost identical between the two groups. The hypothesis that the genotype 1 of TTV may be more closely associated with liver disease than other genotypes was not supported by this study.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 1999
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