Development of a novel nested in situ PCR-ISH method for detection of hepatitis C virus RNA in liver tissue

Raymond Mcmahon, Alhusain J. Alzahrani, Pamela J. Vallely, Raymond F T McMahon

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    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic hepatitis with liver-related death occurring in 20-25% of patients who develop cirrhosis. Detection of the virus RNA in liver is difficult since viral expression is very low. In situ polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in situ hybridisation (ISH) was developed for detection and localisation of viral RNA in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded liver tissue. Nested PCR technology was adapted for in situ use employing primers derived from the 5′ end of the HCV genome. Seventeen liver blocks from known HCV-infected patients were examined. Viral RNA was detected in liver from eleven patients using solution phase reverse transcriptase-PCR. Of these positive samples, ten were positive by the in situ method. Positive signal was detected in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes and mononuclear cells. No Kupffer cell or bile duct epithelial positivity was observed. No positive signal was evident in any of the negative controls. A reliable method is described to demonstrate the presence and localisation of HCV RNA in liver tissue using an in situ PCR-ISH assay and it is believed that this will be a valuable tool for the understanding of HCV replication and pathogenesis. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-61
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Virological Methods
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • HCV
    • Hepatocytes
    • In situ hybridisation
    • In situ PCR
    • Liver


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