Scientists create stable cell lines equipped for delivering different hepatitis B virus genotypes

Scientists create stable cell lines equipped for delivering different hepatitis B virus genotypes


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  • Source: Hiroshima University

  • Date: 15 Feb,2022

A new study has created cells that can be stable and capable to produce different strains of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) which is helping to improve understanding of the distinctive virological characteristics treatments, virological features, and infectivity, which could lead to the development of new treatments against the virus that infects humans as long as 4500 years back.

Cell lines are an essential tool for investigating viruses, as well as vaccine production. However, to date the only cell lines that express HBV’s D3 subgenotype that are isolated from Europe are being established and extensively studied since they are the most well-studied molecular clone for the virus. While it is an essential tool for studying HBV but the scientists involved in a study that was published on August 21, 2021, in Journal of Hepatology argued that it could not be a complete representation of the nature that the disease’s various genotypes found in the rest of the world.

HBV contains nine major genotypes, a minor strain as well as a variety of subtypes, each with distinct clinical features and responses to treatment. Researchers cited increasing clinical evidence that shows HBV genotypes have different symptoms and treatment reactions.

They found that those with genotypes C as well as F are linked to a higher chance of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Patients with genotypes A or B are more likely to experience HBeAg seroconversion when treated with IFN-a when compared with those by genotypes C and F. However genotype D has been found to be more closely linked with acute liver failure than other genotypes.

However, racial or ethnic background as well as the environmental conditions or other variables that could cause the different results The researchers concluded that HBV genotypes could have a significant but not still to be identified role in the cause of liver disease.

In this study, we succeeded in generating stable cell lines producing hepatitis B virus of various genotypes that are infectious in vitro and in vivo.”

Michio Imamura, Study Co-Author and Lecturer, Department of Gastroenterology and Metabolism of Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University

“Establishing various genotypes of HBV-infected cell lines and mouse models permitted us to investigate the HBV genotype-associated variations in viral antigen production, infection kinetics, and responses to interferon treatment. These models are also valuable tools for antiviral development.”

Their method resulted in stable cells that proved to be solid in vitro as well as in live models of HBV-related infection for genotypes A2 C1, F1b and H. Utilizing this method the researchers discovered that different HBV genotypes displayed levels of infectivity and antigen manifestation response to treatment.

The most recent data released by the World Health Organization showed that approximately 296 million people were suffering with chronic HBV infections in the year 2019. It is the leading cause of liver disease in the world and is responsible for 1.5 million new cases each year. There is a vaccine available to stop HBV infection. There is, however, no treatment for HBV.

Journal reference:

Zhang, M., et al. (2021) Infection courses, virological features and IFN-α responses of HBV genotypes in cell culture and animal models. Journal of Hepatology.

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