Correlation of serum antibody titers against hepatitis C virus core protein with clinical features by western blot (immunoblot) analysis using a recombinant vaccinia virus expression system.J Clin Microbiol. 1993 May; 31(5):1173-8.JC
In order to study the relationships among the clinical features of hepatitis C patients, the presence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA in their blood, and their serum antibody titers against the core protein of virus and to study the antibody levels in asymptomatic HCV carriers, a recombinant vaccinia virus containing a core protein gene was constructed. The recombinant virus expressed a protein with a molecular mass of 22 kDa in RK-13 cells as determined by Western blot (immunoblot) analysis. By using the cell lysate of virus-infected cells and serially diluted serum samples, core antibody titers in the groups of patients in the chronic hepatitis phase and in the convalescent phase as well as in asymptomatic carriers were determined by enhanced chemiluminescence Western blot analysis. Almost all patients in the chronic phase were shown to have high antibody titers of more than 1:500,000 and with no exception had of HCV RNA in their sera. On the other hand, patients who had recovered naturally and were in the convalescent phase were shown to have significantly lower antibody titers, and the antibody was not detected in the lowest serum dilution of 1:500 in 43% of these patients (three of seven total patients). Antibody levels of patients who showed a good response to interferon treatment decreased to intermediate levels between those of patients in the chronic phase and those of patients in convalescent phase. The antibody titers in asymptomatic carriers varied considerably from 1:500,000 to 1:500, and 41% (11 of 27 total individuals) of these carriers showed a high titer equivalent to that of those in the chronic phase. Core antibody was detected consistently in the individuals in whom HCV RNA was detected. This system for core antibody might be useful for identifying the stage of an apparent HCV infection.