Abstract

The events following experimental infection of 2 chimpanzees with the H strain of hepatitis C virus (HCV) were studied by quantitating the levelsofHCV RNA in liver and serum. Serum and liver samples were tested every 1–3 weeks for up to 32 weeks. The genomic and antigenomic strands of HCV RNA were individually detected in liver and serum by strand-specific reverse transcription followed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using nested primers specific for the 5′ noncoding region of the HCV genome and were quantitated by end-point dilution of the nucleic acid extract. Both genomic and antigenomic strands were detected in liver and serum within 1 week after inoculation and ∼1 week before the development of elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity. Changes in levels of antigenomic strand paralleled those of the genomic strand in both serum and liver. Titers of HCV RNA in serum and liver generally correlated with changes in ALT levels.

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