Influence of hepatitis C virus genotypes and HIV infection on histological severity of chronic hepatitis C. The Hepatitis/HIV Spanish Study Group.Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 Jul; 92(7):1130-4.AJ
The factors influencing the histological severity of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) have not been well established. We therefore investigated the effect of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection on histological liver damage in a cohort of intravenous drug users with CHC.
We analyzed the histological activity score and the HCV genotypes in 59 HCV-RNA-positive patients with biopsy-proven CHC. Forty-eight (81%) of them had concomitant HIV infection with a CD4+ cell count above 200 x 10(6) cells/L and an absence of AIDS-defining conditions. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine the features associated with the histological severity.
Minimal/mild hepatitis was found in 16 patients (27%), moderate chronic hepatitis in 29 (49%), and severe chronic hepatitis in 14 (24%). Patients with HCV subtype 1b had a higher histological score than others (8.7 +/- 3.3 vs. 6.5 +/- 3.2, p = 0.012), either as single or mixed infections. In multivariate analysis, HIV-infected individuals had a higher score of piecemeal necrosis (OR = 21.7, p = 0.002) and a higher stage of fibrosis (OR = 17.9, p = 0.004) than patients without HIV infection. HIV infection and HCV genotype 1b were found to be independent factors of histological severity.
Liver damage in patients with CHC seems to be directly influenced by HCV subtypes. Infection by HCV subtype 1b is closely associated with more severe forms of liver pathology. Furthermore, the presence of HIV infection is an independent factor associated with more aggressive histological damage. In these patients, higher degrees of piecemeal necrosis and fibrosis are commonly seen.