High prevalence of hepatitis C virus type 1b in Italian patients with Porphyria cutanea tarda.Ital J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1997; 29(6):543-7IJ
A strong association between sporadic porphyria cutanea tarda and chronic hepatitis C virus infection was recently described in Italy, France and Spain.
To explore whether hepatitis C virus genotype plays a role in porphyria cutanea tarda complicating chronic hepatitis C.
Forty-seven hepatitis C virus-positive porphyria cutanea tarda patients and a control group of 45 patients of similar age with hepatitis C virus-associated chronic liver disease.
Comparison of frequency of hepatitis C virus genotypes in the two groups and in relation to the age of patients, hepatic histopathology and with the presence of other factors potentially able to trigger porphyria cutanea tarda.
A single genotype, hepatitis C virus 1b, was found to be present in nearly 90% of porphyria cutanea tarda-associated chronic liver disease, significantly exceeding the frequency of the same genotype in the control group (p = 0.0001). The presence of hepatitis C virus 1b was not related to the age of patients or disease severity as evaluated by hepatic histopathology.
Hepatitis C virus-associated chronic hepatitis found in the majority of Italian patients with porphyria cutanea tarda is usually sustained by hepatitis C virus genotype 1b. This viral strain might have a direct pathogenic role in inducing porphyria cutanea tarda or could increase the susceptibility of patients of other triggering factors such as iron overload or alcohol abuse.