Magnetic resonance characterization of hepatocellular carcinoma in the woodchuck model of chronic viral hepatitis
McKenzie, Eilean J
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Woodchucks are the preferred animal model to study chronic viral hepatitis and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which occurs as a result of infection with woodchuck hepatitis virus. Significant elevations in the phosphomonoester peak in 31P-MRS spectrum correlated to the presence of HCC. Ex vivo 31P-NMR determined that HCC tissue had significantly elevated concentrations of PC compared to uninfected control tissues, confirming that PME is specific to the tumour’s growth. Finally, a recombinant vaccinia virus was constructed to stimulate the immune systems of infected woodchucks against cells expressing core antigens. Despite reductions in surface antigen expression and viral load, elevations in serum GGT and the PME in 31P-MRS indicated that there was tumour growth in treated woodchucks. In conclusion, the PME peak represents a potential biomarker of cancerous growth when used in conjunction with serological tests to detect HCC in the liver due to chronic hepatitis virus infection.