To evaluate the clinical feasibility of the antibody titer against a chimeric polypeptide (named Core 518), in which a domain of Core and NS3 of hepatitis C virus (HCV) was fused, ELISA was performed in a total of 76 serum samples. Each serum was serially diluted using two-fold dilution method with distilled water into 10 concentrations. They were all positive for second generation anti-HCV assay (HCV EIA II; Abbott Laboratories). Genotyping RT-PCR, quantitative competitive RT-PCR, and RIBA (Lucky Confirm; LG Biotech) were also assayed. Anti-Core 518 antibody was detected in × 12800 or higher dilutions of sera from 35 of 43 chronic hepatitis C (81.4%) and nine of 16 hepatocellular carcinoma sera (56.3%), one of four cirrhosis (25%), 0 of four acute hepatitis C, and one of nine healthy isolated anti-HCV-positive subjects (p=0.0000). The anti-Core 518 antibody titers were well correlated with the presence of HCV RNA in serum (p=0.002). The anti-Core 518 antibody titers decreased significantly in nine of ten responders to IFN-α treatment. Monitoring anti-Core 518 titers may be helpful not only for differentiating the status of HCV infection among patients with various type C viral liver diseases, but also for predicting responses to IFN-α treatment.
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