Genotyping hepatitis C virus from hemodialysis patients in Central Brazil by line probe assay and sequence analysis

M P Espírito-Santo, M A S Carneiro, N R S Reis, A G Kozlowski, S A Teles, E Lampe, C F T Yoshida, R M B Martins
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 2007, 40 (4): 545-50
The present study examined the distribution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes and subtypes in a hemodialysis population in Goiás State, Central Brazil, and evaluated the efficiency of two genotyping methods: line probe assay (LiPA) based on the 5' noncoding region and nucleotide sequencing of the nonstructural 5B (NS5B) region of the genome. A total of 1095 sera were tested for HCV RNA by RT-nested PCR of the 5' noncoding region. The LiPA assay was able to genotype all 131 HCV RNA-positive samples. Genotypes 1 (92.4%) and 3 (7.6%) were found. Subtype 1a (65.7%) was the most prevalent, followed by subtypes 1b (26.7%) and 3a (7.6%). Direct nucleotide sequencing of 340 bp from the NS5B region was performed in 106 samples. The phylogenetic tree showed that 98 sequences (92.4%) were classified as genotype 1, subtypes 1a (72.6%) and 1b (19.8%), and 8 sequences (7.6%) as subtype 3a. The two genotyping methods gave concordant results within HCV genotypes and subtypes in 100 and 96.2% of cases, respectively. Only four samples presented discrepant results, with LiPA not distinguishing subtypes 1a and 1b. Therefore, HCV genotype 1 (subtype 1a) is predominant in hemodialysis patients in Central Brazil. By using sequence analysis of the NS5B region as a reference standard method for HCV genotyping, we found that LiPA was efficient at the genotype level, although some discrepant results were observed at the subtype level (sensitivity of 96.1% for subtype 1a and 95.2% for subtype 1b). Thus, analysis of the NS5B region permitted better discrimination between HCV subtypes, as required in epidemiological investigations.

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