Serial serum samples from 20 untreated patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were tested for HCV RNA by a nested polymerase chain reaction assay using primers from the highly conserved 5' noncoding region to determine the relationship between hepatitis C viremia and the activity of liver disease during the natural course of chronic HCV infection. Semiquantitation of serum HCV RNA level was achieved by testing serial 10-fold dilutions of RNA extracts to determine the end-point titer. All the patients were HCV RNA positive at presentation. There was a poor correlation between the initial HCV RNA titer and serum transaminase levels. All patients except one were persistently HCV RNA positive during a follow-up period of 1.5-15 years, although 17 (85%) had periods of normal or near-normal transaminase levels. There was no correlation between changes in the serum transaminase levels and HCV RNA titer. Patients with chronic HCV infection have persistent viremia despite fluctuations in ALT levels.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993MJ71700014
View details for PubMedID 8106870