Hepatitis C virus (HCV) receive special attention regarding to its role as one of the major cause chronic liver disease worldwide that can lead to liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)). This RNA virus circulates as quasispecies and showed high genetic heterogeneity due to the presence of mutations that occur at each stage of replication. This virus diversity provides clinical and epidemiological implications and has been associated with the severity of liver disease, treatment response, etc. This study was aimed to obtain the information about the role of HCV quasispecies, especially NS5A gene (ISDR-V3 region), and their association with severity of liver disease in patients with chronic hepatitis (CH) and HCC in Indonesia.
The genetic quasispecies (both complexity and diversity) of HCV was evaluated by cloning of 20 clones each subject and sequencing analysis of NS5A, especially ISDR-V3 region, in 10 patients with CH and 10 patients with HCC HCV 1b infection.
After sequence analysis of 400 clones, all samples in both CH and HCC group showed sequence variation indicating the presence of quasispecies. The quasispecies complexity and diversity of CH samples were higher than HCC, but not statistically significant at either nucleotide or amino acid level. The result of amino acid substitutions analysis suggests there was a region in the PKRBD-ISDR that distinctly different between CH and HCC groups.
There was no correlation between the quasispecies complexity and diversity at nucleotide and amino acid level of NS5A gene with the severity of liver disease. The role of amino acid substitutions differences in the ISDR-V3 region (PKRBD-ISDR) between CH and HCC and its association with severity of liver disease have not been determined yet and require further study.
Clinical trial identification
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.