Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome shows extensive sequence diversity at 2 hypervariable regions (HVR1 and HVR2) of the putative envelope glycoprotein (gp70). We recently reported that the amino‐acid sequence of HVR1, but not of HVR2, underwent a striking mutation or mutated sequentially over a period of several months in patients with chronic hepatitis (CH). Here, we examined whether these genetic alterations in HVR1 occurred in an asymptomatic HCV carrier. The level of HCV RNA in serum was almost the same throughout the 4 time points sampled over 16 months. However, we found that the amino‐acid sequence of the HCV HVR1 from this asymptomatic carrier altered with time, as seen in patients with CH. Alterations of amino acids in the HVR1 were correlated with persistent HCV infection rather than with clinical symptoms. Sequence heterogeneity of HVR1 was not correlated with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values or liver histological findings. The necessity of clinical follow‐up of HCV asymptomatic carriers is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research