Background/Aims: Although a novel DNA virus, TT virus (TTV), has been isolated from a patient with cryptogenic post-transfusion hepatitis, its pathogenic role remains unclear. To elucidate its prevalence and clinical impact in patients with liver diseases, the presence of TTV DNA was assessed in patients with liver diseases and blood donors (BDs) in Japan using two primer sets, one conventional and the other new and highly sensitive. Methods: We studied 261 samples, 72 with chronic hepatitis associated hepatitis C virus (HCV-CH), 57 with hepatocellular carcinoma associated HCV (HCV-HCC), 12 with HCC without either HCV or hepatitis B virus (NBNC-HCC), and 120 of BDs. Results: Using two primer sets, TTV DNA was detected in 68 (94.4%), 53 (93.0%), 12 (100%), and 98 (81.7%) HCV-CH, HCV-HCC, NBNC-HCC, and BDs, respectively. The prevalence was not significantly different between HCV-CH and HCV-HCC, or between HCV-HCC and NBNC-HCC. Comparison between patients with and without TTV revealed no significant differences in backgrounds or biochemical findings. Histopathological findings in patients with HCV-CH, and number, maximum diameter, and histological differentiation of HCC also did not demonstrate any relation to TTV infection. TTV strains can be divided into five groups using phylogenetic analysis, but no disease- specific group appears to exist. Conclusions: Our data suggest that: 1) TTV is very prevalent among patients with liver diseases and even among BDs in Japan, 2) TTV infection does not impact on liver damage with HCV infection, and 3) TTV infection also does not affect the development or progression of HCC.
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