Systemic Autoimmune Diseases in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Infection: Characterization of 1020 Cases (The HISPAMEC Registry)
ABSTRACT To describe the clinical and immunologic characteristics of a large series of patients with systemic autoimmune diseases (SAD) associated with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
The HISPAMEC Registry is a multicenter international study group dedicated to collecting data on patients diagnosed with SAD with serological evidence of chronic HCV infection. The information sources are cases reported by physicians of the HISPAMEC Study Group and periodic surveillance of reported cases by a Medline search updated up to December 31, 2007.
One thousand twenty HCV patients with SAD were included in the registry. Patients were reported from Southern Europe (60%), North America (15%), Asia (14%), Northern Europe (9%), South America (1%), and Australia (1%). Countries reporting the most cases were Spain (236 cases), France (222 cases), Italy (144 cases), USA (120 cases), and Japan (95 cases). The most frequently reported SAD were Sjögren's syndrome (SS; 483 cases), rheumatoid arthritis (RA; 150 cases), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; 129 cases), polyarteritis nodosa (78 cases), antiphospholipid syndrome (59 cases), inflammatory myopathies (39 cases), and sarcoidosis (28 cases). Twenty patients had 2 or more SAD. Epidemiological data were available in 677 cases. Four hundred eighty-seven (72%) patients were female and 186 (28%) male, with a mean age of 49.5 +/- 1.0 years at SAD diagnosis and 50.5 +/- 1.1 years at diagnosis of HCV infection. The main immunologic features were antinuclear antibody (ANA) in 61% of patients, rheumatoid factor (RF) in 57%, hypocomplementemia in 52%, and cryoglobulins in 52%. The main differential aspect between primary and HCV-related SAD was the predominance of cryoglobulinemic-related markers (cryoglobulins, RF, hypocomplementemia) over specific SAD-related markers (anti-ENA antibodies, anti-dsDNA, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide) in patients with HCV.
In the selected cohort, the SAD most commonly reported in association with chronic HCV infection were SS (nearly half the cases), RA and SLE. Nearly two thirds of SAD-HCV cases were reported from the Mediterranean area. In these patients, ANA, RF and cryoglobulins are the predominant immunological features.
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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) re-infection of the graft is universal and interferon based antiviral therapy remains at present the treatment of choice in HCV liver transplant recipients. Apart from the antiviral effects, interferon and ribavirin have both potent immunomodulatory properties resulting in a broad range of immune-related disorders including acute cellular rejection and chronic ductopenic rejection as well as de novo autoimmune hepatitis. Further complicating the picture, HCV infection per se is associated with a variety of autoimmune phenomena. We discuss here the immune-mediated complications and their relationship to chronic HCV and interferon based antiviral therapy.Journal of Hepatology 11/2010; 55(1):207-17. DOI:10.1016/j.jhep.2010.11.012 · 10.40 Impact Factor