Article

Hepatitis C virus infection in a Japanese leprosy sanatorium for the past 67 years

Department of Pathology, Fujita Health University School of Medicine, Toyoake, Japan.
Journal of Medical Virology (Impact Factor: 2.22). 04/2010; 82(4):556-61. DOI: 10.1002/jmv.21612
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Oku-Komyo-En is one of the national leprosy sanatoria, located on a small island in Setouchi city, Okayama prefecture of Japan since 1938. Since autopsies were carried out routinely on almost all patients who had died in the sanatorium up to 1980, approximately 1,000 formalin-fixed autopsy tissue samples were available for analysis. When these samples were reviewed, the pathological data indicated a sharp rise in the death rate caused by cirrhosis of the liver and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) since 1960 and 1970, respectively. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a common cause of HCC in Japan. The presence of HCV RNA was demonstrated in paraffin sections prepared from the autopsied liver tissue fixed in formalin for a prolonged period of time, by employing nested RT-PCR using type-specific primers. The data showed that HCV RNA was detectable in samples of the liver archived as early as 1940, representing the liver tissues kept in formalin for up to 67 years. HCV genotypes 1b and 2a were found by RT-PCR at 85.7% and 14.3%, respectively, in patients with leprosy.

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