Evidence of transmission of hepatitis D virus to spouses from sequence analysis of the viral genome

Authors

  • Jaw-Ching Wu MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Departments of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
    • Professor in Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital, Taipei 112, Taiwan, Republic of China
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  • Chuan-Mu Chen,

    1. Medical Research, Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
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  • I-Jane Sheen,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Departments of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
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  • Shou-Dong Lee,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Departments of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
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  • Huey-Miin Tzeng,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Departments of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
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  • Kong-Bung Choo

    1. Medical Research, Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
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Abstract

To study sexual transmission of hepatitis D virus (HDV), 52 spouses of 56 index patients were observed and HDV genomes from antibody to HDV (anti-HDV)-positive couples were sequenced. Of the spouses, 11 (21%) were serum HBsAg positive, 3 (27%) of whom were also anti-HDV positive. The HDV sequences between spouses were found to be nearly identical (98% to 98.8%) in the region analyzed (nt 911 to nt 1260). Only one couple showed an identity >90% with the genotype I HDV strains. The HDV sequences of the remaining two couples showed >95% identity with each other and >91% homology with genotype II, but they shared only a 73.1% to 73.7% homology with those of the first couple. The regions corresponding to the autocatalytic cleavage sites, the junction between the middle and the carboxyl terminal one-third domains, and the middle domain of the open reading frame for delta antigen on the antigenomic HDV RNA were more conserved with <19% divergence among the three couples. Interestingly, there was a 56% divergence in the region corresponding to the carboxyl end of the open reading frame for the large delta antigen on the antigenomic HDV RNA. In summary, this study provides a direct nucleotide evidence of a common source of HDV infection in each couple. Despite divergence in the viral nucleotide sequence, both genotypes I and II were found in Taiwan and were transmitted from patients with a history of prostitute contact to spouses through sexual contact. (Hepatology 1995; 22:1656-1660).

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