Background/Aims: A novel virus, designated the TT virus (TTV), was isolated from the serum of a patient with posttransfusion hepatitis of unknown etiology, in Japan. Subsequently, TTV was suggested to be a causative agent in a proportion of cases with cryptogenic hepatitis in Japan. This study aimed to elucidate the significance of TTV infection in cases with cryptogenic liver disease in Korea, a neighbor of Japan. Methods: The prevalence of TTV infection was studied in 120 patients with liver diseases, including 85 patients diagnosed as having non-B, non-C liver diseases. As controls, 220 blood donors were also examined. TTV DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction, and the sequence was analyzed by phylogenetic analysis. Results: Fourteen (14.0%) of 100 accepted blood donors, 23 (19.2%) of 120 rejected blood donors, and 15 (17.6%) of 85 patients with non-B, non- C liver diseases were positive for TTV DNA. The prevalences of TTV infection among these groups were not significantly different. Phylogenetic analysis suggested the existence of four major genotypes of TTV. The proportions of each genotype among patients with non-B, non-C liver diseases were not different from those among accepted blood donors. Conclusions: TTV exists in Korea, but the prevalence among patients with non-B, non-C liver diseases was almost the same as that among blood donors. TTV may not be the main causative agent of cryptogenic liver disease in Korea. The relationship between non-B, non-C liver diseases and TTV genotype remains unclear, although TTV can be classified into four genotypes.
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