Journal Article

Injection Drug Use Facilitates Hepatitis C Virus Infection of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

Massimo Resti, Chiara Azzari, Maria Moriondo, Letizia Betti, Idanna Sforzi, Elio Novembre and Alberto Vierucci

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 35, issue 3, pages 236-239
Published in print August 2002 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online August 2002 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/341302
Injection Drug Use Facilitates Hepatitis C Virus Infection of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

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Infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been demonstrated and has been found to play a role in relapse of HCV disease and vertical transmission of HCV. Injection drug use is thought to impair function of the immune system and induce tolerance to viruses; therefore, HCV infection of PBMCs could be more likely to occur in injection drug users (IDUs) with HCV infection. Of 108 women who tested negative for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and positive for HCV RNA, 51 had a history of injection drug use and 57 had no known risk factor for HCV infection. HCV infection was found, by nested reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis, in the PBMCs of 33 IDUs and of 13 non-IDUs (P = .00003). No correlation was found between infection of the PBMCs and HCV genotype or virus load. Route of transmission and viral factors, as well as immunologic dysfunction, may play a role in viral tropism.

Journal Article.  2489 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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