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The distribution of hepatitis C virus genotypes in Turkish patients


Department of Microbiology, Dokuz Eylul University, School of Medicine. Inciralti 35340, Izmir, Turkey.


Summary. The distribution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes was investigated in 89 HCV-infected Turkish patients. Blood samples were collected from haemodialysis patients (n= 45), chronic liver disease (CLD) patients (n= 38), acute non-A, non-B (NANB) hepatitis patients (n= 2) and blood donors (n= 4). HCV RNA sequences were amplified in the 5″ non-coding region and were typed by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. The predominant genotype was 1b (75.3%), followed by 1a (19.1%), 2 (3.4%) and 4 (2.2%). While there was no significant difference in the distribution of HCV genotypes with respect to age, sex, transfusion history, alanine aminotransferase levels or liver histology (in the CLD group), type 1a-infected patients were younger than type 1b-infected patients (P < 0.05) in the haemodialysis group. Serological reactivity to recombinant HCV proteins was assessed in 58 samples using the Chiron RIBA-2 assay. The reactivity of samples from patients infected with type 1b with 5–1–1 and c100 antigens was significantly lower (P < 0.05) than the reactivity of samples from those infected with type 1a. These results, together with the results of two previous studies, indicate that HCV genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4 are prevalent in different frequencies in the Turkish population. Determination of the genotype distribution of HCV in a geographical area may provide important clues for studying the epidemiology, transmission and pathogenesis of HCV-related diseases and may also aid in improving serological assays to detect HCV infection.