An in vitro culture system was developed for assaying the infectivity of the human hepatitis delta virus (HDV). Hepatocytes were isolated from chimpanzee liver and grown in a serum-free medium. Cells were shown to be infectible by HDV and to remain susceptible to infection for at least 3 weeks in culture, as evidenced by the appearance of RNA species characteristic of HDV replication as early as 6 days postinfection. When repeated experiments were carried out on cells derived from an animal free of hepatitis B virus (HBV), HDV infection occurred in a consistent fashion but there was no indication of infection with the HBV that was present in the inoculum. Despite numerous attempts with different sources of HBV inocula free of HDV, there was no evidence that indicated susceptibility of these cells to HBV infection. This observation may indicate that HBV and HDV use different modes of entry into hepatocytes. When cells derived from an HBV-infected animal were exposed to HDV, synthesis and release of progeny HDV particles were obtained in addition to HBV replication and production of Dane particles. Although not infectible with HBV, primary cultures of chimpanzee hepatocytes are capable of supporting part of the life cycle of HBV and the entire life cycle of HDV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science