Transient immunoglobulin M antibody response to hepatitis C virus capsid antigen in posttransfusion hepatitis C: Putative serological marker for acute viral infection

Pei Jer Chen, Jin Town Wang, Lih Hwa Hwang, Yann Hwa Yang, Chia Ling Hsieh, Jia Horng Kao, Jin Chuan Sheu, Ming Yang Lai, Teh Hong Wang, Ding Shinn Chen

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The development of serological assays for hepatitis C virus (HCV) has made specific diagnosis possible. However, markers useful in indicating acute-phase HCV infection have not been identified. By an immunoblottmg method, we characterized the IgM and IgG antibody response against HCV capsid antigen in patients with HCV infection. Among 88% of patients with acute posttransfusion hepatitis C recruited in a prospective study, there was a transient IgM antibody response. The IgM antibody appeared shortly after onset of hepatitis (average 3.7 weeks), persisted for several months (average 18 weeks), and then disappeared. In contrast, the IgG antibody persisted long-term once it appeared. Among patients with chronic hepatitis C with milder disease activities (serum aminotransferase increase above normal levels of 10-fold), about 55% were negative for the IgM antibody. The reactivity of the IgM antibody in the rest was weaker or became negative upon further dilution of serum. The results suggest that IgM anti-capsid antibody may serve as a marker indicating acute or active HCV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5971-5975
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 1992
Externally publishedYes



  • Chronic infection
  • RNA virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

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