Assessment of human cytomegalovirus co-infection in Egyptian chronic HCV patients.Virol J. 2011 Jul 10; 8:343.VJ
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most common cause of severe morbidity and mortality in immune- compromised individuals. This study was conducted to determine the incidence of HCMV infection in HCV patients who either spontaneously cleared the virus or progressed to chronic HCV infection. The study included a total of eighty four cases (48 females and 36 males) that were referred to blood banks for blood donation with an age range of 18-64 years (mean age 37.62 ± 10.03 years). Hepatitis C virus RNA and HCMV DNA were detected in sera by RT-nested PCR and nested PCR respectively in all subjects. Immunoglobulin G levels for HCV and HCMV were determined. Besides, IgM antibodies for HCMV infection were also determined in subjects' sera. Fifty three out of 84 cases (63%) were positive for HCV-RNA while 31 (37%) cases had negative HCV RNA. Forty six (87%) and 13 (25%) cases out of 53 HCV RNA positive patients were positive for HCMV IgG and IgM antibodies respectively. While 20 of 53 cases (38%) had detectable HCMV DNA. To examine the role of HCMV infection in HCV spontaneous resolution, two groups of HCV patients, group 1) chronic HCV infection (positive HCV RNA and positive IgG antibodies) vs group 2) spontaneous resolution (negative HCV RNA and positive IgG antibodies) were compared. The percentages of positive CMV IgG and IgM results is higher in chronic HCV patient than those in spontaneously cleared HCV patients and the difference is highly statistically significant (P value < 0.001). Also, there is a general trend towards elevated levels of CMV IgG antibodies in HCV chronic patients than those in spontaneously cleared HCV patients (P value < 0.02). HCMV DNA detection in group 1 was more than twice the value observed in group 2 (38% vs 14.3%, P value < 0.001). Moreover, levels of liver enzymes were significantly higher in HCV RNA positive cases co-infected with HCMV DNA than HCMV negative cases (P value < 0.001). The results indicate the role of HCMV in the liver pathogenesis. We conclude that chronic HCV patients co-infected with HCMV infection can be regarded as high risk groups for liver disease progression where they should be monitored for the long term outcome of the disease.