Platelets can be a biological compartment for the Hepatitis C Virus

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Sociedade Brasileira de Microbiologia


Although HCV has hepatic tropism, the presence of the virus in extra-hepatic compartments has been well documented. Platelets have been described as carriers of the virus in the circulation and may be a natural reservoir for the virus. However, few studies have been performed to evaluate the levels of HCV RNA in plasma and platelets are equal or differ in some way. Therefore, the aim of this study was to perform a comparative evaluation of the stability of HCV RNA in plasma and isolated platelets. Four aliquots of whole plasma obtained from patients infected with HCV were incubated at 37 °C for 0, 48, 96 and 144 h. After incubation, the plasma and platelet pellet was obtained from each aliquot. Viral RNA in plasma and platelets was quantified by q-PCR. The results showed a decrease in HCV RNA levels in plasma with incubation time. However, platelet HCV RNA levels were stable up to 144 h incubation. The results of this study showed that HCV RNA in platelets, although at lower concentrations than in plasma, is preserved from degradation over time, suggesting that the virus may persist longer in the body when associated with platelets, which could have an impact on the efficiency of antiviral therapy.



Hepatitis C Virus, platelets, Viral load, Virological relapse

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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, v. 46, n. 2, p. 627-629, 2015.