Recent accumulated evidence shows that dialysis patients are a high-risk group for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Assessment of HCV genotype distribution among dialysis patients may be important because specific viral genotypes are associated with different clinical manifestations, disease progression, and response to antiviral therapy. However, polymerase chain reaction-based methods are cumbersome and unsuitable for analyzing large cohorts of dialysis patients with HCV. Instead, this information can be obtained by using a novel recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) recently developed for determining HCV serotype. The RIBA HCV serotyping strip immunoblot assay (SIA; Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, CA), is based on an immunoblot strip with five lanes of immobilized serotype-specific HCV peptides from the nonstructural (NS4) and core regions of the genomes of HCV types 1, 2, and 3. HCV serotype is deduced by determining the greatest intensity of reactivity to the NS4 serotype-specific HCV peptide band in relation to the internal control band (human immunoglobulin G) intensity on each strip. HCV core peptide reactivity is used only in the absence of NS4 reactivity. We compared RIBA HCV serotyping SIA with genotyping using sera from a large (n = 107) cohort of HCV-infected patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis (HD). We successfully serotyped 79 of 107 patients (74%) undergoing HD. We found a remarkable concordance (65 of 70 results; 93%) between RIBA HCV serotyping SIA and genotyping (line probe assay [LIPA]) techniques (κ = 0.788) with sera from viremic patients infected with a known genotype. Only 5 of 70 patients (7%) had apparently discordant results. In a subset of patients (28 of 107 patients; 28%) not typed by RIBA HCV serotyping SIA, most (24 of 28 patients; 86%) were successfully genotyped by LiPA technology. It was possible to assess serotype reactivity in some patients (9 of 107 patients; 7%) who could not be genotyped. The distribution of HCV serotypes was associated with the antibody response against HCV proteins and the patterns of reactivity by RIBA HCV 2.0 SIA. In conclusion, (1) we found good agreement between serotyping and genotyping methods in our large cohort of dialysis patients infected with HCV; (2) the impaired immunocompetence conferred by uremia may limit serotyping analysis in some HCV-infected patients undergoing HD; (3) RIBA HCV serotyping SIA may be useful in tracking transmission routes for HD patients who cleared the virus and have only anti- HCV antibody; and (4) the distribution of HCV serotypes was associated with the antibody response against HCV proteins and the patterns of reactivity by RIBA HCV 2.0 SIA. Assessment of HCV strains appears to be very useful in the routine clinical activity of nephrologists within HD units because consistent biological differences among HCV strains exist. RIBA serotyping SIA is a simple, inexpensive, and highly reproducible assay to obtain information about HCV types in the HD setting. (C) 2000 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV) serotype.
- Recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) hepatitis C virus (HCV) serotyping strip immunoblot assay (SIA)
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