Analysis of mutations in the core and NS5A genes of hepatitis C virus in non-responder and relapser patients after treatment with Peg-IFN-α and ribavirin
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Mutations in several regions of HCV genome are shown to correlate with response to interferon (IFN) treatment. Persistence of HCV infection and poor susceptibility to treatment might be contributed by mutations arising within HCV genome which enable the virus to escape from host immune response/IFN treatment. This study investigated mutations in core and NS5A genes of HCV from non-responder and relapser patients after treatment with Peg-IFN-α and ribavirin. Viral RNA was extracted from patient sera and core and NS5A genes were amplified by RT-PCR. Nucleotide sequences of the core and NS5A genes were determined by direct sequencing, and converted to amino acid sequences. Nucleotide and amino acid sequences in the core region, ISDR, PKRBD, and V3 regions within NS5A after treatment were highly conserved when comparing to their corresponding sequences obtained before treatment. Interestingly, when comparing the virus from relapsers to those from non-responders, the number of mutations after treatment in N-terminal region of NS5A of virus from relapsers was significantly higher than those from non-responders (P < 0.05). Amino acid mutations at the N-terminus of NS5A of the virus in relapsers might help the virus to survive and somehow relapse after the cessation of the treatment.
KeywordsCore Hepatitis C virus Mutation NS5A Peg-IFN-α Ribavirin
This study was supported by the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT), and the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
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