Hepatitis C serotypes in chronic hepatitis C of children
Bortolotti F., Jara P., Simmonds P., Diaz C., Hierro L., Vajro P., Giacchino R., De La Vega A., Crivellaro C., Barbera C., Camarena C., Nebbia G., Zancan L., Frauca E., Barbierato E., Alberti A.
An enzyme linked immunosorbent assay has been recently developed which detects and distinguishes between infections with the three major hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes prevalent in Europe. Using this assay we have investigated the sera of 30 Italian and 37 Spanish children with chronic hepatitis C. Infection with HCV type 1 was found in 43% of Italian and 46% of Spanish children. Of the Italian children 7% were infected with HCV of type 2 and 7% had a mixed type 1/type 2 serotype. Infection with HCV type 3 was found in 7% of Italian and 8% of Spanish children while 36% of Italian and 46% of Spanish children had non-reactive sera. Serotype 3 was significantly more frequent in children with anti-HCV positive mothers (often drug abusers) than in those with percutaneous exposure (25% vs. 2%, p < 0.05). Mean alanine aminotransferase values were significantly higher in children with HCV type 1 than in those with non-reactive sera (P < 0.05). These results indicate a similar distribution of HCV serotypes in Italian and Spanish children. Serotype 1 is prevalent and associated with a more severe liver damage. The relevant proportion of non-reactive sera could be related to the existence of genetic variants different from those explored by the test and with low pathogenicity, or to a poor antibody response to viral antigens of the NS4 region in a consistent subgroup of children. © 1995.