Systemic autoimmune diseases in patients with hepatitis C virus infection: characterization of 1020 cases (The HISPAMEC Registry).

Laboratory of Autoimmune Diseases Josep Font, Department of Autoimmune Diseases, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic, 08036-Barcelona, Spain.
The Journal of Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 3.17). 05/2009; 36(7):1442-8. DOI: 10.3899/jrheum.080874
Source: PubMed

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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During the course of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, various extrahepatic manifestations of autoimmune disorders may occur, including arthralgia/arthritis, sicca complex, purpura, cutaneous ulcer, and thyroid dysfunction. In addition, the prevalence of circulating autoantibodies is high among patients with HCV infection. Commonly detected autoantibodies in HCV-infected patients include rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibody, anti-SSA/anti-SSB antibody, cryoglobulin, antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody, anti-smooth muscle antibody, anti-liver and anti-thyroid autoantibodies. These autoantibodies may be associated with underlying autoimmune disorders or liver inflammation in HCV infection. A possible reason for antibody production is overactivation and proliferation of B lymphocytes, via the interaction with the surface protein of HCV. Because immunotherapy can cause HCV flare-up or liver damage, overdiagnosis of HCV-related autoimmune symptoms as primary autoimmune disorders should be avoided. This review describes biomarkers that are useful in clinically evaluating autoimmune manifestations and disorders associated with HCV infection.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 03/2014; 20(11):2962-2970. · 2.43 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A cytoplasmic antigen associated to inosine-5'-monophosphatedehydrogenase 2 eliciting specific antibodies (antirods and rings, RR) has been identified in patients with chronic hepatitis C who were exposed to pegylated interferon (PI) and ribavirin (RBV). The significance of anti-RR in these patients merits to be investigated. Sera from 88 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients undergoing PI-RBV therapy were analysed for the presence of RR pattern by indirect immunofluorescence on HEp-2 substrate (Inova Diagnostics, San Diego, CA, USA). Anti-RR antibodies developed de novo in 32 patients independently of any demographic and virological feature, but with a significant association with cumulative exposure to PI-RBV (P = 0.0089; chi-square test). RR pattern was significantly more frequent in relapsers than in patients achieving sustained virological response (56% vs 30%; P = 0.0282, chi-square test). Anti-RR titre ranged from 1:80 to 1:1280, but significantly declined following treatment cessation. Anti-RR develop de novo in a substantial proportion of patients exposed to PI-RBV in relation to the duration of treatment exposure. Further investigations are necessary to unravel the mechanisms leading to the formation of these autoantibodies.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 07/2014; · 3.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The association of chronic hepatitis C with immune related syndromes has been frequently reported. There is a great range of clinical manifestations affecting various systems and organs such as the skin, the kidneys, the central and peripheral nervous system, the musculoskeletal system and the endocrine glands. Despite the high prevalence of immune related syndromes in patients with chronic hepatitis C, the exact pathogenesis is not always clear. They have been often associated with mixed cryoglobulinemia, a common finding in chronic hepatitis C, cross reaction with viral antigens, or the direct effect of virus on the affected tissues. The aim of this review is to analyze the reported hepatitis C virus immune mediated syndromes, their prevalence and clinical manifestations and to discuss the most supported theories regarding their pathogenesis.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 09/2014; 20(35):12372-12380. · 2.43 Impact Factor