Analysis of hepatitis C virus-inoculated chimpanzees reveals unexpected clinical profiles

Suzanne E. Bassett, Kathleen M. Brasky, Robert E. Lanford

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    118 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    The clinical course of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in a chimpanzee cohort was examined to better characterize the outcome of this valuable animal model. Results of a cross-sectional study revealed that a low percentage (39%) of HCV-inoculated chimpanzees were viremic based on reverse transcription (RT-PCR) analysis. A correlation was observed between viremia and the presence of anti-HCV antibodies. The pattern of antibodies was dissimilar among viremic chimpanzees and chimpanzees that cleared the virus. Viremic chimpanzees had a higher prevalence of antibody reactivity to NS3, NS4, and NS5. Since an unexpectedly low percentage of chimpanzees were persistently infected with HCV, a longitudinal analysis of the virological profile of a small panel of HCV-infected chimpanzees was performed to determine the kinetics of viral clearance and loss of antibody. This study also revealed that a low percentage (33%) of HCV-inoculated chimpanzees were persistently viremic. Analysis of serial bleeds from six HCV-infected animals revealed four different clinical profiles. Viral clearance with either gradual or rapid loss of anti-HCV antibody was observed in four animals within 5 months postinoculation. A chronic-carrier profile characterized by persistent HCV RNA and anti-HCV antibody was observed in two animals. One of these chimpanzees was RT-PCR positive, antibody negative for 5 years and thus represented a silent carrier. If extrapolated to the human population, these data would imply that a significant percentage of unrecognized HCV infections may occur and that silent carriers may represent potentially infectious blood donors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2589-2599
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Virology
    Volume72
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Apr 1 1998

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Microbiology
    • Immunology
    • Insect Science
    • Virology

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    Bassett, S. E., Brasky, K. M., & Lanford, R. E. (1998). Analysis of hepatitis C virus-inoculated chimpanzees reveals unexpected clinical profiles. Journal of Virology, 72(4), 2589-2599.