To examine the prevalence of hepatitis G virus (HGV) in end-stage liver disease of unknown cause and the role of HGV infection in posttransplantation hepatitis, we studied 46 patients undergoing liver transplantation (mean age, 50 years; M:F, 18:28) with cryptogenic cirrhosis. HGV RNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and was quantified by a branched DNA (bDNA) assay. The prevalence of HGV RNA was determined in samples collected before and after liver transplantation and was found to be 22% and 67%, respectively. We evaluated the prevalence of posttransplantation hepatitis in 25 patients, 16 of whom were HGV-positive and 9 were HGV-negative. The proportion of patients with hepatitis was not significantly different in the two groups (38% in HGV-positive and 22% in HGV-negative patients). The median histological scores were significantly higher in liver biopsies from patients with HGV infection than in those without HGV infection (2 [range, 0-14] and 1 [range, 0-3]; P = .01), but the histological scores were low overall. The duration of follow-up was similar in the two groups. HGV RNA levels were not correlated with the severity of liver disease based on histological score (r = -.08). Graft survival and patient survival were not significantly different. We concluded that liver disease was frequent (32%) after transplantation in patients with a pretransplantation diagnosis of cryptogenic cirrhosis, although the disease was generally mild. Although HGV RNA was demonstrable in the majority (67%) of patients after transplantation, there was no relationship between the presence of HGV RNA and the presence of posttransplantation liver disease. The finding of posttransplantation hepatitis in the absence of known viruses (A-G), suggests that other, as- yet-unidentified viruses may be important.