Molecular evidences for horizontal transmission of HCV inside couples / Evidências moleculares da transmissão horizontal do vírus da hepatite C (VHC) entre cônjuges




HCV transmission has decreased with the adoption of universal blood donors screening and social policies to reduce risk of infection in IVDU, but HCV is still a worldwide health problem. The epidemiological route of infection cannot be identified in a significant proportion of patients. Some studies demonstrated the presence of viral RNA in different secretions, suggesting the existence of other routes for HCV transmission. The aim of this study was to evaluate the phylogenetical relationships among sequences from different HCV genomic regions from sexual partners of chronic infected patients when analyzed among themselves and when analyzed conjointly with sequences from virus found in non related chronic infected patients attended in the same clinic. Eighteen individuals (9 couples with stable relationship without other risk factors for HCV infection) and forty-two control patients (fourteen from each genotype found in the couples) were selected. NS3 (~620 nts) and NS5B (~360 nts) regions were amplified and sequenced. Sequences were aligned using clustal X 1.81 and Bioedit 6.0.7. Phylogenetic signal/noise ratio in the data set was investigated with a likelihood mapping analysis with the program TREE-PUZZLE. Evolutionary models were chosen by Hierarchical Likelihood Ratio Test (hLRTs) using Modeltest 3.06 and used for analyze NS3, NS3+NS5B (TrN+I+G) and NS5B (TrNef+I+G) sequences. Distance and maximum-likelihood (ML) phylogenetical analyses were performed with PAUP*4b10 and the trees were constructed with NJ and heuristic search. Tree bisection and reconnection (TBR) algorithm respectively.Robustness of trees was evaluated by analyzing 1000 bootstrap replicates. Genbank reference sequences from different genotypes were included in data analysis. Sequences from NS5B region were obtained for all samples while it was not possible to get NS3 sequences from only 2 couples. Considering the three analysis, phylogenetical signals were 90.5% (NS5B - 199 nt), 92.9% (NS5B - 344 nt), 94.8% (NS3 - 619 nt ) and 96.1% (NS5B + NS3). As expected, the best phylogenetical signal was obtained with concatened NS3+NS5B sequences. Phylogenetical analysis strongly suggested that virus from couples 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 had a common origin. In the majority of the analysis, sequences inside these couples clustered in the same monophyletical group with bootstrap values higher than 70. For the other couples, monophyletical groups were observed but these results were not supported by the bootstrap analysis. In conclusion, using sequencing from two different viral genomic regions, we have strongly supported a common source of infection for the two members of five couples. Control sequences from the same subtypes than the couples were crucial to confirm the results. These data strongly support HCV transmission inside couples.


fatores de risco filogenia hepatite c crônica genetic heterogeneity genotype phylogeny disease transmission horizontal genótipo transmissão horizontal de doença heterogeneidade genética chronic c hepatitis risk factors

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