Serum hepatitis C virus RNA levels and histologic findings in liver allografts with early recurrent hepatitis C.

Department of Pathology, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine (Impact Factor: 2.88). 12/2000; 124(11):1623-7. DOI: 10.1043/0003-9985(2000)124<1623:SHCVRL>2.0.CO;2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Histopathologic features of early recurrent hepatitis C after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTx) may be modified by immunosuppressive therapy or complicated by other conditions. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA level usually increases after OLTx, but its correlation to histologic findings is not clear.
To evaluate the histologic findings of early recurrent hepatitis C in liver allografts and its correlation to serum HCV RNA level.
We studied 14 patients who underwent OLTx for chronic HCV infection. Thirty liver biopsy specimens and HCV RNA levels of 22 corresponding plasma samples obtained during the first 6 months following OLTx were analyzed. The control group (9 patients, 25 biopsy specimens) was chosen at random from patients with chronic liver disease other than HCV who were undergoing OLTx, and all tested negative for HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction after OLTx.
Statistically significant pathological features of early recurrent HCV infection were the number of acidophilic bodies, piecemeal necrosis, lymphocyte predominance in the portal tracts, and fibrous septum. These findings and histologic activity index scores increased with time after OLTx. The HCV RNA levels determined by branched DNA assay showed no significant correlation with histologic features. However, patients with higher histologic activity index scores tended to have higher RNA levels.
Liver biopsy specimens are helpful for the diagnosis or confirmation of early recurrent hepatitis C in liver allografts, but serial biopsy specimens are sometimes required for definite diagnosis. The HCV RNA levels are usually higher in patients who display signs of more severe liver damage.

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