Three groups of patients have been studied longitudinally for 24 months to analyze the role of hepatitis G virus (HGV) in hepatic disease. Group 1 consisted of 50 patients with non-B, non-C chronic hepatitis, group 2 consisted of 44 hemodialyzed patients, and group 3 consisted of 50 healthy blood donors. The presence of HGV RNA was detected by both reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE).
At the baseline visit the HGV RNA was detected in seven out of 50 patients with non-B, non-C chronic hepatitis, in two out of 44 hemodialyzed patients, and in three out of 50 healthy blood donors. HGV-infected hemodialyzed patients and HGV viremic blood donors had serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels within normal limits.
During the follow-up period the two HGV-positive hemodialyzed patients and the three infected healthy blood donors did not show any sign of hepatic disease. There were no significant differences between HGV-positive patients in the three groups at the beginning and at the end of the follow-up. No considerable deterioration of general health conditions was observed on the basis of clinical and laboratory data in HGV-positive chronic hepatitis patients. Finally, HGV does not seem to be responsible for hepatic disease.
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