Infection of B cells with hepatitis C virus for the development of lymphoproliferative disorders in patients with chronic hepatitis C

Department of Gastroenterology, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
Journal of Medical Virology (Impact Factor: 2.35). 04/2009; 81(4):619-27. DOI: 10.1002/jmv.21388
Source: PubMed


Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with lymphoproliferative disorders, represented by essential mixed cryoglobulinemia and B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but the pathogenic mechanism remains obscure. HCV may infect B cells or interact with their cell surface receptors, and induce lymphoproliferation. The influence of HCV infection of B cells on the development of lymphoproliferative disorders was evaluated in 75 patients with persistent HCV infection. HCV infection was more prevalent (63% vs. 16%, 14%, or 17% P < 0.05 for each), and HCV RNA levels were higher (3.35 +/- 3.85 vs. 1.75 +/- 2.52, 2.15 +/- 2.94 or 2.10 +/- 2.90 log copies/100 ng, P < 0.01 for each) in B cells than CD4(+), CD8(+) T cells or other cells. Negative-strand HCV RNA, as a marker of viral replication, was detected in B cells from four of the 75 (5%) patients. Markers for lymphoproliferative disorders were more frequent in the 50 patients with chronic hepatitis C than the 32 with chronic hepatitis B, including cryoglobulinemia (26% vs. 0%, P < 0.001), low CH(50) levels (48% vs. 3%, P = 0.012), and the clonality of B cells (12% vs. 0%, P < 0.01). By multivariate analysis, HCV RNA in B cells was an independent factor associated with the presence of at least one marker for lymphoproliferation (odds ratio: 1.98 [95% confidence interval: 1.36-7.24], P = 0.027). Based on the results obtained, the infection of B cells with HCV would play an important role in the development of lymphoproliferative disorders.

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