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The hepatitis B virus e antigen cannot pass the murine placenta efficiently and does not induce CTL immune tolerance in H-2b mice in utero.

Year 1998
Reifenberg K. Deutschle T. Wild J. Hanano R. Gastrock-Balitsch I. Schirmbeck R. Schlicht HJ.
Laboratory Animal Research Unit, University of Ulm, Germany. kurt.reifenberg@ze.uni-ulm.de
The function of the secretory core gene product (HBeAg) of the human hepatitis B virus is unclear. It has been discussed that this protein may be passed from the mother to the fetus, where it might induce immunologic tolerance. Here we have examined this possibility with transgenic mice expressing high levels of HBeAg. Analysis of serum samples obtained from nontransgenic fetuses which developed in HBeAg-positive mothers showed no evidence that the HBeAg can pass the placenta. Moreover, direct examination of the HBeAg- and HBcAg-specific cytotoxic T-cell immune response of H-2b mice which developed in either transgenic or nontransgenic mothers revealed no indication that mice which could have been exposed to the HBeAg in utero become tolerant to HBV core gene products. From these data we conclude that the placenta represents an efficient barrier for HBeAg transfer and that the HBeAg does not tolerize cytotoxic T cells, at least in mice of the H-2b haplotype.

Antibodies directed to envelope proteins of hepatitis C virus outside of hypervariable region 1.

Year 1998
Lechner S. Rispeter K. Meisel H. Kraas W. Jung G. Roggendorf M. Zibert A.
Institut fur Virologie, Universitatsklinikum, Essen, Germany.
The relatively high variability of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope proteins E1 and E2 suggests that parts of these proteins other than the hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) might be involved in the induction of virus neutralizing antibodies. To test this hypothesis, two HCV proteins, pE1 and pE2 delta, were generated by in vitro translation. They represent amino acids 174-337 of E1 and 411-688 of E2, respectively, of isolate HCV-AD78; the protein pE2 delta contained no HVR1. As a control, protein pG.HVR1, which represents amino acids 384-410 of HVR1 of isolate HCV-AD78, was expressed separately. These three proteins were used in an immunoprecipitation assay to detect the presence of antiviral antibodies in sera of patients infected with the same isolate of HCV (HCV-AD78). Sera were obtained 4-8 months postinfection from patients who later resolved an acute infection or developed chronic liver disease. A high prevalence of antibodies (up to 85.7%) against pE1 and pE2 delta could be detected in both groups of patients, suggesting that these forms of the HCV envelope proteins contain B-cell epitopes. The antibody responses against proteins pE1 and pE2 delta did not differ significantly between patients with resolving or chronic infection, whereas antibodies against protein pG.HVR1 were associated with resolution of infection. Rabbit antisera raised against pE1 and pE2 delta were tested for their ability to neutralize the binding of HCV to susceptible cells in tissue cultures. The results suggested that although a few B-cell epitopes outside of HVR1 can induce virus neutralizing antibodies, these antibodies are probably not associated with the resolution of infection.

Evidence that both HIV and HIV-induced immunodeficiency enhance HCV replication among HCV seroconverters.

Year 1998
Beld M. Penning M. Lukashov V. McMorrow M. Roos M. Pakker N. van den Hoek A. Goudsmit J.
Department of Human Retrovirology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. M.Beld@AMC.UvA.NL
The objective of this retrospective cohort study is to assess the mechanism by which human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) influences hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication in injecting drug users. Virological (HCV and HIV RNA levels) and immunological (CD4+, CD8+ cell counts, and anti-CD3 reactivity) parameters were determined in 19 HCV seroconverters in sequential samples over a period of 1 to 9 years. Among these subjects, 10 were HIV-seronegative (HIVneg), 4 were HIV-seropositive (HIVpos), and 5 seroconverted for HIV (HIVsc) during the observation period. HCV RNA levels were higher in HIVpos subjects than in HIVneg subjects. In subjects seroconverting for HIV, HCV, RNA levels increased significantly immediately after HIV seroconversion (P < 0.0001), while they remained stable over time in HIVpos and HIVneg subjects. HCV RNA correlated inversely with CD4+ cell counts in both the HIVpos population (R = -0.22, P < 0.05) and the HIVneg population (R = -0.45, P < 0.0001). In addition, when subjects were stratified according to CD4+ cell counts a significant difference was found in HCV RNA levels between HIVpos and HIVneg subjects with CD4+ cell counts > 500 cells/microliter (P = 0.001), but not in the population with CD4+ cell counts < 500 cells/microliter. In no population was a correlation found between HCV RNA levels and CD8+ cell counts or anti-CD3 reactivity. Both HIV infection and CD4+ cell counts are apparently associated with HCV RNA levels. The direct association, independent of CD4+ cell counts, between HIV infection and HCV replication appears to be stronger than the association between HIV-induced CD4+ cell decline and HCV replication. We conclude that (i) HCV replication is in some way directly influenced by the presence of HIV; (ii) HCV-specific host immunity controls, in part, HCV replication; and (iii) HCV replication increases when the immune system is impaired by HIV.

Transmission of hepatitis C virus infection to tree shrews.

Year 1998
Xie ZC. Riezu-Boj JI. Lasarte JJ. Guillen J. Su JH. Civeira MP. Prieto J.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, People's Republic of China.
Although hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can be reproduced in chimpanzees, these animals are rare and expensive. Tree shrews (tupaias) are small animals, closely related to primates, which adapt easily to a laboratory environment. In this work we have investigated the susceptibility of Tupaia belangeri chinensis to HCV infection. Tupaias caught in the wild in Yunnan (China) were inoculated in China with HCV genotype 1b (study A) and in Spain with a mixture of genotypes 1b, 1a, and 3 (study B). In study B tupaias were divided into three groups: group I was inoculated without previous manipulation, group II received 750 cGy of X-ray whole-body irradiation before inoculation, and group III was used as control. Transient or intermittent viremia occurred in 34.8% (8/23) and anti-HCV in 30.4% (7/23) of tupaias in study A. In study B a transient viremia was detected in 20% (2/10) in group I and in 50% (2/4) in group II. Anti-HCV was found in 1 tupaia from group I and in 3 from group II: Viremia lasted for longer and anti-HCV tended to reach higher titers in animals which received total body irradiation. ALT elevations and nonspecific pathological changes occurred in inoculated tupaias; however, the wild nature of the animals precludes the interpretation of these changes as solely due to HCV infection. In summary our results show that T.b. chinensis are susceptible to HCV and that whole-body irradiation may possibly increase the efficiency of the infection. These animals may serve as an in vivo system for culturing HCV and addressing pathophysiological and therapeutic issues of HCV infection.

The hepatitis B virus seroconversion to anti-HBe is frequently associated with HBV genotype changes and selection of preS2-defective particles in chronically infected children.

Year 1998
Gerner PR. Friedt M. Oettinger R. Lausch E. Wirth S.
Children's Hospital, University of Mainz, Germany.
In order to investigate the generation and selection of hepatitis B virus mutants and the influence of interferon on their evolution, a longitudinal study including 22 patients was performed. The complete preS1/S2 open reading frame was analyzed by direct sequencing from serum samples obtained before and after seroconversion to anti-HBe in 11 children without alpha-interferon treatment. Furthermore, in 11 cases with therapy additional samples obtained during interferon therapy were investigated. The comparison of each patient's preS sequences analyzed before and during therapy did not show any nucleotide change, while in both groups numerous silent and missense mutations were found immediately after seroconversion. Surprisingly, in 7 cases the hepatitis B virus changed genotype from A to D (subtype adw to ayw) after seroconversion. Additional rearrangements were observed in 4 patients. In 3 cases the selection of preS2 start codon mutants was detected after seroconversion and in 1 individual a 183-nucleotide deletion was found during and after HBeAg positivity. In conclusion, the emergence of preS rearrangements and numerous base exchanges provide evidence for a strong selection process focused against the preS region. Moreover, the appearance of genotype changes after anti-HBe seroconversion reveales a thus far unrecognized event during the natural course of HBV infection in childhood.

Analysis of hepatitis B virus populations in an interferon-alpha-treated patient reveals predominant mutations in the C-gene and changing e-antigenicity.

Year 1998
Gunther S. Paulij W. Meisel H. Will H.
Heinrich-Pette-Institut fur Experimentelle Virologie und Immunologie an der Universitat Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany.
It is largely unknown whether hepatitis B virus (HBV) sequence variation during chronic infection hampers HBV immune recognition or the antiviral effect of cytokines on HBV production. Here we have analyzed which region of the HBV genome changes most drastically during an interferon-alpha (IFNalpha)-stimulated immune response. In addition, we have investigated whether the mutations affect viral replication, gene expression, and immune recognition of the mutant viral proteins. The study was performed with full-length HBV genomes taken longitudinally from a patient who transiently cleared HBV and seroconverted to anti-HBe during a long-term IFNalpha treatment. We found a replacement of the predominant virus population during IFNalpha therapy The virus populations differed mainly by a cluster of nucleotide changes in the C-gene and a pre-S2 deletion. Most of the newly emerging mutations localized within core/HBe B-cell epitopes, changed HBe antigenicity toward mono- and polyclonal antibodies, and also influenced the reactivity of the anti-HBc/e antibodies of the patient. All genomes tested expressed less HBeAg than wild-type HBV, while replication and IFNalpha susceptibility were similar. These data indicate that IFNalpha therapy can lead to the emergence of HBV variants with mutations mainly affecting recognition of the core/HBe proteins by antibodies. Taken together, the type of core/HBe-specific B-cell immune response, the sequence of the corresponding epitopes, and the HBe expression level appear to contribute to the decision on viral clearance or persistence.

Transcripts of a chimeric cDNA clone of hepatitis C virus genotype 1b are infectious in vivo.

Year 1998
Yanagi M. St Claire M. Shapiro M. Emerson SU. Purcell RH. Bukh J.
Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0740, USA.
We constructed a chimeric cDNA clone of hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is infectious. The chimeric genome encodes the polyprotein of a genotype 1b strain (HC-J4) of HCV and replicates via 5' and 3' untranslated regions of a genotype 1a strain. The infectivity of three full-length cDNA clones was tested by direct injection of RNA transcripts into the liver of a chimpanzee. The chimpanzee became infected with HCV and the viral titer increased over time from 10(2) genome equivalents (GE)/ml at week 1 postinoculation (p.i.) to 10(4)-10(5) GE/ml during weeks 3-11 p.i. Antibodies to HCV were detected from week 18 p.i. However, the chimpanzee did not develop hepatitis. Sequence analysis of PCR products amplified from the serum of the chimpanzee demonstrated that only one of the three clones was infectious. Sequence comparisons with the cloning source, an acute-phase infectious plasma pool derived from an experimentally infected chimpanzee, showed that this infectious clone had three amino acids that differed from the consensus sequence of HC-J4, whereas the two noninfectious clones had seven and nine amino acid differences, respectively. Together, genotype 1b, represented by the infectious molecular clone described herein, and genotype 1a, represented by the two cDNA clones previously shown to be infectious for chimpanzees, account for the majority of HCV infections in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Источник: https://gastroportal.ru/science-articles-of-world-periodical-eng/virology.html
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