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1.  Assessing mortality in women with hepatitis C virus and HIV using indirect markers of fibrosis 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(5):599-607.
Co-infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected individuals. However, predictors of mortality are poorly defined and most studies have focused predominantly on co-infection in men. We evaluated whether two indirect markers of hepatic fibrosis, aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index (APRI) and FIB-4 scores, were predictive of mortality in a well defined longitudinal cohort of HCV/HIV-co-infected women on HAART.
HCV/HIV-co-infected women on antiretroviral therapy enrolled in Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a National Institutes of Health-funded prospective, multicenter, cohort study of women with and at risk for HIV infection were included. Using Cox regression analysis, associations between APRI and FIB-4 with all-cause mortality were assessed.
Four hundred and fifty HCV/HIV-co-infected women, of whom 191 women died, had a median follow-up of 6.6 years and 5739 WIHS visits. Compared with women with low APRI or FIB-4 levels, severe fibrosis was significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality {APRI: hazard ratio 2.78 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.87, 4.12]; FIB-4: hazard ratio 2.58 (95% CI 1.68, 3.95)}. Crude death rates per 1000 patient-years increased with increasing liver fibrosis: 34.8 for mild, 51.3 for moderate and 167.9 for severe fibrosis as measured by FIB-4. Importantly, both APRI and FIB-4 increased during the 5 years prior to death for all women: the slope of increase was greater for women dying a liver-related death compared with nonliver-related death.
Both APRI and FIB-4 are independently associated with all-cause mortality in HCV/HIV-co-infected women and may have clinical prognostic utility among women with HIV and HCV.
PMCID: PMC3698040  PMID: 22156972
fibrosis markers; hepatitis C virus; HIV; longitudinal study; mortality
2.  Impact of lifetime alcohol use on liver fibrosis in a population of HIV-infected patients with and without hepatitis C coinfection 
The effect of alcohol on liver disease in HIV infection has not been well characterized.
We performed a cross-sectional multivariable analysis of the association between lifetime alcohol use and liver fibrosis in a longitudinal cohort of HIV-infected patients with alcohol problems. Liver fibrosis was estimated with two non-invasive indices, “FIB-4”, which includes platelets, liver enzymes, and age; and “APRI”, which includes platelets and liver enzymes. FIB-4<1.45 and APRI<0.5 defined absence of liver fibrosis. FIB-4>3.25 and APRI>1.5 defined advanced liver fibrosis. The main independent variable was lifetime alcohol consumption (<150 kg, 150–600kg, >600 kg).
Subjects (n=308) were 73% male, mean age 43 years, 49% with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, 60% on antiretroviral therapy, 49% with an HIV RNA load<1000 copies/mL, and 18.7% with a CD4 count<200 cells/mm3. Forty-five percent had lifetime alcohol consumption >600 kg, 32.7% 150–600 kg, and 22.3% <150 kg; 33% had current heavy alcohol use, and 69% had >9 years of heavy episodic drinking. Sixty-one percent had absence of liver fibrosis and 10% had advanced liver fibrosis based on FIB-4. In logistic regression analyses controlling for age, gender, HCV infection, and CD4 count, no association was detected between lifetime alcohol consumption and absence of liver fibrosis (FIB-4<1.45) [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.12 (95%CI:0.25–2.52) for 150–600 kg versus <150 kg; AOR=1.11 (95%CI:0.52–2.36) for >600 kg vs. <150 kg; global p=0.95]. Additionally, no association was detected between lifetime alcohol use and advanced liver fibrosis (FIB-4>3.25). Results were similar using APRI, and among those with and without HCV infection.
In this cohort of HIV-infected patients with alcohol problems, we found no significant association between lifetime alcohol consumption and absence of liver fibrosis or the presence of advanced liver fibrosis, suggesting that alcohol may be less important than other known factors that promote liver fibrosis in this population.
PMCID: PMC3758457  PMID: 23647488
alcohol; HIV; Hepatitis C virus; liver fibrosis
3.  A comparative review of HLA associations with hepatitis B and C viral infections across global populations 
Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) viral infection or co-infection leads to risk of development of chronic infection, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Immigration and globalization have added to the challenges of public health concerns regarding chronic HBV and HCV infections worldwide. The aim of this study is to review existing global literature across ethnic populations on HBV and HCV related human leukocyte antigen (HLA) associations in relation to susceptibility, viral persistence and treatment. Extensive literature search was conducted to explore the HLA associations in HBV and HCV infections reported across global populations over the past decade to understand the knowledge status, weaknesses and strengths of this information in different ethnic populations. HLA DR13 is consistently associated with HBV clearance globally. HLADRB1*11/*12 alleles and DQB1*0301 are associated with HBV persistence but with HCV clearance worldwide. Consistent association of DRB1*03 and *07 is observed with HCV susceptibility and non-responsiveness to HBV vaccination across the population. HLA DR13 is protective for vertical HBV and HCV transmission in Chinese and Italian neonates, but different alleles are associated with their susceptibility in these populations. HLA class Imolecule interactions with Killer cell immunoglobulin like receptors (KIR) of natural killer (NK) cells modulate HCV infection outcome via regulating immune regulatory cells and molecules. HLA associations with HBV vaccination, interferon therapy in HBV and HCV, and with extra hepatic manifestations of viral hepatitis are also discussed. Systematic studies in compliance with global regulatory standards are required to identify the HLA specific viral epitope, stage specific T cell populations interacting with different HLA alleles during disease progression and viral clearance of chronic HBV or HCV infections among different ethnic populations. These studies would facilitate stage specific therapeutic strategies for clearance of HBV and HCV infections or co-infections across global populations and aid in identification of HBV-HCV combined vaccine. HLA associations of chronic HBV or HCV development with confounding host factors including alcohol, drug abuse, insulin resistance, age and gender are lacking and warrant detailed investigation across global populations.
PMCID: PMC4149952  PMID: 17465466
Human leukocyte antigen; HBV persistence; HCV persistence; Interferon response to HBV and HCV; HBV vaccination response
4.  Hazardous drinking is associated with elevated aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index in an urban HIV clinical cohort 
HIV medicine  2008;10(3):133-142.
To determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and liver fibrosis as assessed by aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI) in HIV-infected adults and to explore the relative contributions of alcohol and hepatitis C virus (HCV) to APRI among HIV/HCV co-infected adults.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from an observational clinical cohort. Alcohol consumption was categorized according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism guidelines. We defined significant liver disease as APRI>1.5, and used multinomial logistic regression to identify correlates of increased APRI.
Among 1358 participants, 10.4% reported hazardous drinking. 11.6% had APRI>1.5, indicating liver fibrosis. Hazardous drinking was associated with increased APRI (Adj. RRR 2.30, 95% CI: 1.26-4.17). Other factors associated with increased APRI were: male gender; viral hepatitis; and HIV transmission category of injection drug use. Among co-infected individuals, 18.3% had APRI>1.5, and hazardous drinking was not associated with APRI. Among nonHCV-infected individuals, 5.3% had APRI>1.5, and hazardous drinking was associated with increased APRI (Adj. RRR 3.72, 95%CI: 1.40-9.87).
Hazardous drinking is an important modifiable risk factor for liver fibrosis, particularly among non-HCV-infected patients. Clinicians and researchers must address alcohol use as the burden of liver disease increases among HIV-positive individuals.
PMCID: PMC2654191  PMID: 19207596
alcohol; APRI; liver fibrosis; viral hepatitis
5.  Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection & liver disease among injection drug users (IDUs) in Chennai, India 
Background & Objectives:
We characterized HCV antibody prevalence, viral persistence, genotype and liver disease prevalence among IDUs in Chennai, India as the study of the association of HIV with each of these states is important and there are no data available.
Between 2005-2006, 1158 IDUs were recruited and followed semi-annually. All were tested for HCV antibodies at baseline; a random sample of 400 antibody positives (200 HIV-positive and 200 HIV-negative) were tested for HCV RNA; 13 of these were sequenced. Assessment of asparate amino transferase (AST)-to-platelet ratio index (APRI) was done on 557 IDUs. Prevalence ratios of each outcome were examined.
Median age was 35 yr; 99 per cent were male. HCV antibody prevalence was 55 per cent and was associated with older age, being unmarried, longer injection history, tattoo and injecting at a dealer’s place. Of the 400 HCV antibody positive IDUs, 281 (70.3%) had persistent infection which was less common among hepatitis B-infected persons but not associated with HIV. Of the 13 samples sequenced, 11 (85%) were HCV genotype 3a. Fibrosis prevalence according to APRI was: HIV/HCV-uninfected, 4 per cent; HIV mono-infected, 3 per cent; HCV mono-infected, 11 per cent; HIV/HCV co-infected, 12 per cent (P<0.001). In addition to being associated with HCV and HIV/HCV, fibrosis prevalence was higher among those drinking alcohol frequently; daily marijuana use was protective.
Interpretation & Conclusions:
Our findings show that IDUs in Chennai have high HCV prevalence and associated disease burden. The burden will increase as access to antiretroviral therapy improves particularly given the high prevalence of HIV, HCV and alcohol use.
PMCID: PMC3102459  PMID: 21245619
APRI; HCV genotype; hepatitis C virus; HIV; injection drug users; liver disease
6.  Specific HLA Class I and II Alleles Associated with Hepatitis C Virus Viremia 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2010;51(5):1514-1522.
Studies of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles and their relation with hepatitis C virus (HCV) viremia have had conflicting results. However, these studies have varied in size and methods, and few large studies assessed HLA class I alleles. Only one study conducted high resolution class I genotyping. The current investigation therefore involved high-resolution HLA class I and II genotyping of a large multi-racial cohort of US women with high prevalence of HCV and HIV. Our primary analyses evaluated associations between twelve HLA alleles identified through a critical review of the literature and HCV viremia in 758 HCV-seropositive women. Other alleles with >5% prevalence were also assessed; previously unreported associations were corrected for multiple comparisons. DRB1*0101 (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–2.6), B*5701 (PR=2.0; 95% CI = 1.0–3.1), B*5703 (PR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.0–2.5), and Cw*0102 (PR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.0–3.0) were associated with the absence of HCV RNA (i.e., HCV clearance), while DRB1*0301 (PR = 0.4; 95% CI = 0.2–0.7) was associated with HCV RNA positivity. DQB1*0301 was also associated with the absence of HCV RNA but only among HIV-seronegative women (PR = 3.4; 95% CI = 1.2–11.8). Each of these associations was among those predicted. We additionally studied the relation of HLA alleles with HCV infection (serostatus) in women at high risk of HCV from injection drug use (IDU; N=838), but no significant relationships were observed.
HLA genotype influences host capacity to clear HCV viremia. The specific HLA associations observed in the current study are unlikely to be due to chance since they were a priori hypothesized.
PMCID: PMC2946382  PMID: 20169624
human leukocyte antigen; HIV; injection drug user; multiple comparisons; killer immunoglobulin-like receptor
7.  Progression of liver fibrosis in HIV/HCV genotype 1 co-infected patients is related to the T allele of the rsI2979860 polymorphism of the IL28B gene 
HIV/HCV co-infection is characterised by accelerated progression of liver disease. Recently, the rsl2979860 C/T polymorphism in the IL28B gene has been linked to progression towards cirrhosis in HCV mono-infected patients and to treatment response of HCV-infection in HIV/HCV co-infected patients. Our aim was to clarify by non-invasive techniques if this polymorphism affects fibrosis progression in HIV/HCV co-infection.
In a cross-sectional design, liver stiffness (transient elastography), surrogate markers of liver fibrosis (APRI and FIB-4 scores) and rsl2979860 genotypes were analysed in 84 HCV/H1V co-infected patients. IL28B genotypes were determined by real-time PCR using a light cycler. In 56 HIV/HCV co-infected patients we also studied progression of fibrosis in relation to rsl2979860 C/T genotypes over two years.
82% of the patients were on HAART (74% without detectable HI viremia) and 67% were haemophiliacs, respectively. HCV genotype 1 was present in 62%. Cross-sectional median liver stiffness was 7.4 kPa and correlated with APRI and FIB-4 scores (r = 0.6 each, p < 0.001). Frequencies of IL28B genotypes were: CC 50%, CT 43% and TT 7%. In the cross-sectional analysis liver stiffness values were not different between the various IL28B-genotypes. Upon follow-up under HAART carriers of a C allele did not show further progression, while liver stiffness significantly increased in HIV/HCV co-infected patients with the T allele (p = 0.047).
Although progression of liver fibrosis was low under HAART in our cohort, progression was more pronounced in HIV/HCV genotype 1 co-infected patients with the T allele.
PMCID: PMC3351985  PMID: 21813376
IL28B; polymorphism; liver fibrosis; transient elastography; HIV; HCV
8.  HIV virological rebounds but not blips predict liver fibrosis progression in antiretroviral-treated HIV/hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients 
HIV Medicine  2014;16(1):24-31.
Antiretroviral interruption is associated with liver fibrosis progression in HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection. It is not known what level of HIV viraemia affects fibrosis progression.
We evaluated 288 HIV/HCV-coinfected cohort participants with undetectable HIV RNA (< 50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL) on two consecutive visits while on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) without fibrosis [aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI) < 1.5], end-stage liver disease or HCV therapy. An HIV blip was defined as a viral load of ≥ 50 and < 1000 copies/mL, preceded and followed by undetectable values. HIV rebound was defined as: (i) HIV RNA ≥ 50 copies/mL on two consecutive visits, or (ii) a single HIV RNA measurement ≥ 1000 copies/mL. Multivariate discrete-time proportional hazards models were used to assess the effect of different viraemia levels on liver fibrosis progression (APRI ≥ 1.5).
The mean age of the patients was 45 years, 74% were male, 81% reported a history of injecting drug use, 51% currently used alcohol and the median baseline CD4 count was 440 [interquartile range (IQR) 298, 609] cells/μL. Fifty-seven (20%) participants [12.4/100 person-years (PY); 95% confidence interval (CI) 9.2−15.7/100 PY] progressed to an APRI ≥ 1.5 over a mean 1.1 (IQR 0.6, 2.0) years of follow-up time at risk. Virological rebound [hazard ratio (HR) 2.3; 95% CI 1.1, 4.7] but not blips (HR 0.5; 95% CI 0.2, 1.1) predicted progression to APRI ≥ 1.5. Each additional 1 log10 copies/mL HIV RNA exposure (cumulative) was associated with a 20% increase in the risk of fibrosis progression (HR 1.2; 95% CI 1.0–1.3).
Liver fibrosis progression was associated with HIV rebound, but not blips, and with increasing cumulative exposure to HIV RNA, highlighting the importance of achieving and maintaining HIV suppression in the setting of HIV/HCV coinfection.
PMCID: PMC4312483  PMID: 24837567
fibrosis; hepatitis C virus; HIV; virological blips; virological rebound
9.  Transient elastography: A non-invasive tool for assessing liver fibrosis in HIV/HCV patients 
AIM: To assess the prevalence of advanced liver fibrosis (ALF) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV/HCV patients using transient elastography, and to identify factors associated with ALF.
METHODS: Between September 2008 and October 2009, 71 HIV mono-infected, 57 HIV/HCV co-infected and 53 HCV mono-infected patients on regular follow-up at our Center were enrolled in this study. Alcohol intake, the main parameters of liver function, presence of HCV-RNA, HIV-RNA, duration of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) and CD4 cell count were recorded. ALF was defined as liver stiffness (LS) ≥ 9.5 kPa. To estimate liver fibrosis (LF) a further 2 reliable biochemical scores, aspartate aminotransferase platelet ratio index (APRI) and FIB-4, were also used.
RESULTS: LS values of co-infected patients were higher than in either HIV or HCV mono-infected patients (χ2MH = 4, P < 0.04). In fact, LS ≥ 9.5 was significantly higher in co-infected than in HIV and HCV mono-infected patients (χ2 = 5, P < 0.03). Also APRI and the FIB-4 index showed more LF in co-infected than in HIV mono-infected patients (P < 0.0001), but not in HCV mono-infected patients. In HIV⁄HCV co-infected patients, the extent of LS was significantly associated with alcohol intake (P < 0.04) and lower CD4+ cell count (P < 0.02). In HCV patients, LS was correlated with alcohol intake (P < 0.001) and cholesterol levels (P < 0.03). Body mass index, diabetes, HCV- and HIV-viremia were not significantly correlated with LS. In addition, 20% of co-infected patients had virologically unsuccessful HAART; in 50% compliance was low, CD4+ levels were < 400 cells/mm3 and LS was > 9.5 kPa. There was no significant correlation between extent of LF and HAART exposure or duration of HAART exposure, in particular with specific dideoxynucleoside analogues.
CONCLUSION: ALF was more frequent in co-infected than mono-infected patients. This result correlated with lower CD4 levels. Protective immunological effects of HAART on LF progression outweigh its hepatotoxic effects.
PMCID: PMC2975093  PMID: 21049556
Liver fibrosis; Transient elastography; Aspartate aminotransferase platelet ratio index; FIB-4 test; Fibrosis evaluation; Human immunodeficiency virus infection; Hepatitis C virus infection
10.  Impact of IL28B-Related Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms on Liver Transient Elastography in Chronic Hepatitis C Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80172.
Background and Aims
Recently, several genome-wide association studies have revealed that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in proximity to IL28B predict spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection as well as outcome following pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy among genotype 1 infected patients. Additionally the presence of the otherwise favorable IL28B genetic variants in the context of HCV genotype 3 infection reportedly entail more pronounced liver fibrosis and steatosis. The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of IL28B SNP variability on liver stiffness as accessed by transient elastography.
Seven hundred and seventy-one Swedish HCV infected patients sequentially undergoing liver stiffness measurement by means of Fibroscan® in the context of a real-life trial had samples available for IL28B genotyping (rs12979860) and HCV genotyping.
CCrs12979860 was more common among HCV genotype 2 or 3 infected treatment-naïve patients than among those infected with genotype 1 (P<0.0001). Additionally CCrs12979860 among HCV genotype 3 infected patients was associated with higher liver stiffness values (P = 0.004), and higher AST to platelet ratio index (APRI; p = 0.02) as compared to carriers of the T allele. Among HCV genotype 1 infected patients, CCrs12979860 was significantly associated with higher viral load (P = 0.001), with a similar non-significant trend noted among HCV genotype 3 infected patients.
This study confirms previous reports that the CCrs12979860 SNP is associated with more pronounced liver pathology in patients chronically infected with HCV genotype 3 as compared to genotype 1, suggesting that IL28B genetic variants differently regulates the course of HCV infection across HCV genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3828208  PMID: 24244641
11.  IL28B, HLA-C, and KIR Variants Additively Predict Response to Therapy in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in a European Cohort: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(9):e1001092.
Vijayaprakash Suppiah and colleagues show that genotyping hepatitis C patients for the IL28B, HLA-C, and KIR genes improves the ability to predict whether or not patients will respond to antiviral treatment.
To date, drug response genes have not proved as useful in clinical practice as was anticipated at the start of the genomic era. An exception is in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection with pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin (PegIFN/R). Viral clearance is achieved in 40%–50% of patients. Interleukin 28B (IL28B) genotype predicts treatment-induced and spontaneous clearance. To improve the predictive value of this genotype, we studied the combined effect of variants of IL28B with human leukocyte antigen C (HLA-C), and its ligands the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR), which have previously been implicated in HCV viral control.
Methods and Findings
We genotyped chronic hepatitis C (CHC) genotype 1 patients with PegIFN/R treatment-induced clearance (n = 417) and treatment failure (n = 493), and 234 individuals with spontaneous clearance, for HLA-C C1 versus C2, presence of inhibitory and activating KIR genes, and two IL28B SNPs, rs8099917 and rs12979860. All individuals were Europeans or of European descent. IL28B SNP rs8099917 “G” was associated with absence of treatment-induced clearance (odds ratio [OR] 2.19, p = 1.27×10−8, 1.67–2.88) and absence of spontaneous clearance (OR 3.83, p = 1.71×10−14, 2.67–5.48) of HCV, as was rs12979860, with slightly lower ORs. The HLA-C C2C2 genotype was also over-represented in patients who failed treatment (OR 1.52, p = 0.024, 1.05–2.20), but was not associated with spontaneous clearance. Prediction of treatment failure improved from 66% with IL28B to 80% using both genes in this cohort (OR 3.78, p = 8.83×10−6, 2.03–7.04). There was evidence that KIR2DL3 and KIR2DS2 carriage also altered HCV treatment response in combination with HLA-C and IL28B.
Genotyping for IL28B, HLA-C, and KIR genes improves prediction of HCV treatment response. These findings support a role for natural killer (NK) cell activation in PegIFN/R treatment-induced clearance, partially mediated by IL28B.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 170 million people harbor long-term (chronic) infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and 3–4 million people are newly infected with the virus every year. HCV—a leading cause of chronic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)—is spread though contact with infected blood. Transmission can occur during medical procedures (for example, transfusions with unscreened blood or reuse of inadequately sterilized medical instruments) but in developed countries, where donated blood is routinely screened for HCV, the most common transmission route is needle-sharing among intravenous drug users. HCV infection can cause a short-lived illness characterized by tiredness and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes) but 70%–80% of newly infected people progress to a symptom-free, chronic infection that can eventually cause liver cirrhosis (scarring) and liver cancer. HCV infections can be treated with a combination of two drugs—pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin (PegIFN/R). However, PegIFN/R is expensive, causes unpleasant side-effects, and is ineffective in about half of people infected with HCV genotype 1, the commonest HCV strain.
Why Was This Study Done?
It would be extremely helpful to be able to identify which patients will respond to PegIFN/R before starting treatment. An individual's genetic make-up plays a key role in the safety and effectiveness of drugs. Thus, pharmacogenomics—the study of how genetic variants affects the body's response to drugs—has the potential to alter the clinical management of many diseases by allowing clinicians to provide individually tailored drug treatments. In 2009, scientists reported that certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, a type of genetic variant) lying near the IL28B gene (which encodes an immune system protein made in response to viral infections) strongly influence treatment outcomes and spontaneous clearance in HCV-infected people. This discovery is now being used to predict treatment responses to PegIFN/R in clinical practice but genotyping (analysis of variants of) IL28B only correctly predicts treatment failure two-thirds of the time. Here, the researchers investigate whether genotyping two additional regions of the genome—the HLA-C and KIR gene loci—can improve the predictive value of IL28B genotyping. Human leukocyte antigen C (HLA-C) and the killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) are interacting proteins that have been implicated in HCV viral control.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers genotyped 417 patients chronically infected with HCV genotype 1 whose infection had been cleared by PegIFN/R treatment, 493 patients whose infection had not responded to treatment, and 234 patients whose infection had cleared spontaneously for two HLA-C variants (C1 and C2), the presence of several KIR genes (individuals carry different combinations of KIR genes), and two IL28B SNPs (rs8099917 and rs12979860). Carriage of “variants” of either IL28B SNP was associated with absence of treatment-induced clearance and absence of spontaneous clearance. That is, these variant SNPs were found more often in patients who did not respond to treatment than in those who did respond, and more often in patients who did not have spontaneous clearance of their infection than those who did. The HLA-C C2C2 genotype (there are two copies of most genes in the genome) was also more common in patients who failed treatment than in those who responded but was not associated with spontaneous clearance. The rate of correct prediction of treatment failure increased from 66% with IL28B genotyping alone to 80% with combined IL28B and HLA-C genotyping. Finally, carriage of specific KIR genes in combination with specific HLA-C and IL28B variants was also associated with an altered HCV treatment response.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the addition of HCL-C and KIR genotyping to IL28B genotyping improved the prediction of HCV treatment response in the patients investigated in this study. Because all these patients were European or of European descent, these findings need confirming in people of other ethnic backgrounds. They also need confirming in other groups of Europeans before being used in a clinical setting. However, the discovery that the addition of HLA-C genotyping to IL28B genotyping raises the rate of correct prediction of PegIFN/R treatment failure to 80% is extremely promising and should improve the clinical management of patients infected with HCV genotype 1. In addition, these results provide new insights into how PegIFN/R clears HCV infections that may lead to improved therapies in the future.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about hepatitis C (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on hepatitis C for the public and for health professionals (information is also available in Spanish)
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides basic information on hepatitis C (in English and Spanish)
The Hepatitis C Trust is a patient-led, patient-run UK charity that provides detailed information about hepatitis C and support for patients and their families; a selection of personal stories about patients' experiences with hepatitis C is available, including Phil's treatment story, which details the ups and downs of treatment with PegIFN/R
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources on hepatitis C
The Human Genome Project provides information about medicine and the new genetics, including a primer on pharmacogenomics
PMCID: PMC3172251  PMID: 21931540
12.  Coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV), oxidative stress and antioxidant status in HIV-positive drug users in Miami1,2 
HIV medicine  2011;12(2):78-86.
The pathogenesis of HIV/HCV-coinfection is poorly understood. We examined markers of oxidative stress, plasma antioxidants and liver disease in HIV/HCV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected adults.
Demographics, medical history, and proof of HIV, hepatitis A, B and C were obtained. HIV-viral load, CD4-count, CBC, chemistries, plasma zinc, selenium, vitamins A and E were determined. Malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione-peroxidase were obtained as measures of oxidative stress. APRI and FIB-4 markers were calculated.
Significant differences were found between HIV/HCV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected participants in levels of ALT (51.4±50.6 vs. 31.9±43.1U/L, p=0.014), AST (56.2±40.9 vs. 34.4±30.2U/L; p<0.001), APRI (0.52±0.37 vs. 0.255±0.145, p=0.0001), FIB-4 (1.64±.0.91 vs. 1.03±0.11, p=0.0015) and plasma albumin (3.74±0.65 vs. 3.94±0.52g/dL, p=0.038). There were no significant differences in CD4-count, HIV-viral load or ART between groups. Mean MDA was significantly higher (1.897±0.835 vs. 1.344±0.223nmol/mL, p=0.006), and plasma antioxidants were lower, (vitamin A [39.5±14.1 vs. 52.4±16.2µg/dL, p=0.0004], vitamin E [8.29±2.1 vs. 9.89±4.5µg/mL, p=0.043] and zinc [0.61±0.14 vs. 0.67±0.15mg/L, p=0.016]) in the HIV/HCV-coinfected compared to the HIV-monoinfected participants, which remained significant after adjusting for age, gender, CD4-count, HIV-viral load, injection drug-use and race. There were no significant differences in glutathione-peroxidase, selenium, BMI, and alcohol, and tobacco between groups. Glutathione-peroxidase significantly increased as liver disease advanced, as measured by APRI (β= 0.00118, p=0.0082) and FIB-4 (β=0.0029, p=0.0177). Vitamin A significantly decreased (β=−0.00581, p=0.0417) as APRI increased.
HIV/HCV-coinfection is associated with increased oxidative stress and decreased plasma antioxidants when compared to HIV-monoinfection. Research is needed to determine whether antioxidant supplementation delays liver disease in HIV/HCV-coinfection.
PMCID: PMC2974022  PMID: 20500231
HCV; HIV; antioxidants; oxidative stress
13.  Impaired Hepatitis C Virus-Specific T Cell Responses and Recurrent Hepatitis C Virus in HIV Coinfection 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e492.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T cell responses are critical for spontaneous resolution of HCV viremia. Here we examined the effect of a lymphotropic virus, HIV-1, on the ability of coinfected patients to maintain spontaneous control of HCV infection.
Methods and Findings
We measured T cell responsiveness by lymphoproliferation and interferon-γ ELISPOT in a large cohort of HCV-infected individuals with and without HIV infection. Among 47 HCV/HIV-1-coinfected individuals, spontaneous control of HCV was associated with more frequent HCV-specific lymphoproliferative (LP) responses (35%) compared to coinfected persons who exhibited chronic HCV viremia (7%, p = 0.016), but less frequent compared to HCV controllers who were not HIV infected (86%, p = 0.003). Preservation of HCV-specific LP responses in coinfected individuals was associated with a higher nadir CD4 count (r2 = 0.45, p < 0.001) and the presence and magnitude of the HCV-specific CD8+ T cell interferon-γ response (p = 0.0014). During long-term follow-up, recurrence of HCV viremia occurred in six of 25 coinfected individuals with prior control of HCV, but in 0 of 16 HIV-1-negative HCV controllers (p = 0.03, log rank test). In these six individuals with recurrent HCV viremia, the magnitude of HCV viremia following recurrence inversely correlated with the CD4 count at time of breakthrough (r = −0.94, p = 0.017).
These results indicate that HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV—including in persons who have cleared HCV infection—and that HIV-1-infected individuals with spontaneous control of HCV remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia. These findings highlight the need for repeat viral RNA testing of apparent controllers of HCV infection in the setting of HIV-1 coinfection and provide a possible explanation for the higher rate of HCV persistence observed in this population.
HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV. Even individuals who have cleared HCV infection remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia.
Editors' Summary
Because of shared transmission routes (contaminated needles, contaminated blood products, and, to a lesser extent, unprotected sex), a large proportion of HIV-infected individuals (estimates range between 25% and 33%) are also infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In most but not all individuals infected with HCV, the virus infection is chronic and causes liver disease that can eventually lead to liver failure. Disease progress is slow; it often takes decades until infected individuals develop serious liver disease. In people infected with both HCV and HIV, however, liver disease caused by HCV often appears sooner and progresses faster. As highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and prophylaxis of opportunistic infections increase the life span of persons living with HIV, HCV-related liver disease has become a major cause of hospital admissions and deaths among HIV-infected persons.
Why Was This Study Done?
A sizable minority of people who are infected with HCV manage to control the virus and never get liver disease, and scientists have found that these people somehow mounted a strong immune response against the hepatitis C virus. CD4+ T cells, the very immune cells that are infected and destroyed by HIV, play an important role in this immune response. The goal of the present study was to better understand how infection with HIV compromises the specific immune response to HCV and thereby the control of HCV disease progression.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited four groups of patients, 94 in total, all of whom were infected with HCV. Two groups comprised patients who were infected with HIV as well as HCV, with either high or undetectable levels of HCV (30 patients in each group). The two other groups included patients not infected with HIV, either with high or undetectable levels of HCV (17 patients in each group). The researchers focused on the individuals who, despite coinfection with HIV, were able to control their HCV infection. They found that those individuals managed to maintain relatively high levels of CD4+ T cells that specifically recognize HCV. However, a quarter of these patients (six out of 25) failed to keep HCV levels down for the entire observation period of up to 2.5 years; their blood levels of HCV rose substantially, most likely due to recurrence of the previously suppressed virus (the researchers could not be certain that none of the patients had become infected again after a new exposure to HCV-contaminated blood, but there was no evidence that they had engaged in risky behavior). The rise of HCV levels in the blood of the relapsed patients coincided with a drop in overall CD4+ T cell numbers. Following relapse in these individuals, HCV did not return to undetectable levels during the study. During the same period none of the 16 HIV-uninfected people with controlled HCV infection experienced a recurrence of detectable HCV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Despite the relatively small numbers of patients, these results suggest that recurrence of HCV after initial control of the virus is more likely in people who are coinfected with HIV, and that HCV control is lost when CD4+ T cell counts fall. This is one more reason to test all HIV-positive patients for HCV coinfection. Coinfected patients, even those who seem to be controlling HCV and would not automatically receive HCV treatment, should be regularly tested for a rise of HCV levels. In addition, maintaining CD4+ T cells at a high level might be particularly important for those patients, which means that doctors might consider starting HAART therapy earlier than is generally recommended for HIV-infected individuals. Additional studies are needed to support these recommendations, however, especially as this study did not follow the patients long enough to determine the consequences of the observed loss of control of HCV.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
AIDS Treatment Data Network factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
US CDC factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
American Liver Foundation, information on HIV and HCV
MedlinePlus pages on HCV
PMCID: PMC1705826  PMID: 17194190
14.  Predictors of Chronic Hepatitis C Evolution in HIV Co-Infected Patients From Romania 
Hepatitis Monthly  2013;13(2):e8611.
Due to a recent alarming increase in the number of HIV-HCV co-infected patients in Romania.
A cross sectional study was conducted to assess the baseline predictors of liver disease evolution.
Patients and Methods
83 HIV-HCV co-infected patients, untreated for HCV infection, were evaluated for viral replication, liver fibrosis (estimated by a noninvasive marker - FIB4), and plasma levels of IP-10 (interferon-gamma inducible protein 10) - a cytokine associated with an unfavorable outcome of HCV infection.
The median value for HCV viral load was high (6.3 log10 IU/mL), 98.8% of the patients were infected with HCV genotype 1. Although 53% of the patients received antiretroviral therapy (cART), only 31.8% of these achieved undetectable HIV levels. HCV viral load was significantly higher in patients with AIDS (6.4 vs. 6.1 log10IU/mL; P = 0.04), and in those naïve for cART (6.5 vs. 5.9 log10 IU/mL; P = 0.04). Severe fibrosis was directly correlated with immunosupression (56% vs. 17.4%, P = 0.03), HCV replication (6.1 vs. 4.9 log10IU/mL P = 0.008), and IP-10 median values (312 vs. 139 pg/ml, P=0.008). A serum IP-10 level higher than 400 pg/mL was significantly associated with FIB-4 median values (4.09 vs. 1.7, P = 0.004), HCV viral load (6.4 vs. 6.1 log10 IU/mL, P = 0.02) and ALT level (206.8 vs. 112.4 IU/L, P = 0.05).
An important part of the HIV-HCV co-infected patients had negative baseline predictors for the evolution of HCV infection; their therapeutical management must be conducted with special attention towards adherence and potential overlapping drug toxicities. High concentrations of plasma IP-10 are reliable markers for the severity of liver disease.
PMCID: PMC3632003  PMID: 23613686
Coinfection; Romania; Biological Markers
15.  The insulin-like growth factor axis and risk of liver disease in hepatitis C virus/HIV-co-infected women 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(4):527-531.
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) I stimulates the proliferation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC), the primary source of extracellular matrix accumulation in liver fibrosis. In contrast, insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP) 3, the most abundant IGFBP in circulation, negatively modulates HSC mitogenesis. To investigate the role of the IGF axis in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver disease among high-risk patients, we prospectively evaluated HCV-viremic/HIV-positive women.
A cohort investigation.
Total IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were measured in baseline serum specimens obtained from 472 HCV-viremic/HIV-positive subjects enrolled in the Women's Inter-agency HIV Study, a large multi-institutional cohort. The aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI), a marker of liver fibrosis, was assessed annually.
Normal APRI levels (< 1.0) at baseline were detected in 374 of the 472 HCV-viremic/HIV-positive subjects tested, of whom 302 had complete liver function test data and were studied. IGF-I was positively associated [adjusted odds ratio comparing the highest and lowest quartiles (AORq4–q1), 5.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17–29.1; Ptrend = 0.03], and IGFBP-3 was inversely associated (AORq4–q1, 0.13; 95% CI 0.02–0.76; Ptrend = 0.04), with subsequent (incident) detection of an elevated APRI level(> 1.5), after adjustment for the CD4 T-cell count, alcohol consumption, and other risk factors.
High IGF-I may be associated with increased risk and high IGFBP-3 with reduced risk of liver disease among HCV-viremic/HIV-positive women.
PMCID: PMC3507535  PMID: 18301066
aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index; APRI; hepatitis C virus (HCV); HIV; IGFBP-3; IGF; liver disease
16.  Spontaneous control of HCV is associated with the expression of HLA-B*57 and preservation of targeted epitopes 
Gastroenterology  2010;140(2):686-696.e1.
Background and Aims
HLA Class I alleles are linked to spontaneous control of HCV and HIV-1, but for HCV the roles of particular alleles and corresponding CD8+ T-cell responses remain incompletely defined. We aimed to determine the correlations between these alleles and natural outcome of HCV and determine associated key T cell responses.
In a cohort of HCV individuals we determined HLA Class I alleles, HCV outcome, T-cell responses, and examined sequence data for mutational changes within key epitopes.
Carriage of HLA-B*57 was associated with a higher rate of viral clearance [RR=2.0, 95% C.I. 1.2–3.4] while HLA-B*08 was associated with a lower rate [RR=0.34, 95% C.I. 0.1–0.9]. Two HLA-B*57 restricted T-cell epitopes were targeted in spontaneous clearance; subjects with chronic viremia expressing HLA-B*57 harbored HCV strains with a high frequency of mutations in key residues. HLA-B*57-mediated escape was supported by diminished immune recognition of these variants and acute HCV infection revealing viral evolution towards less recognized variants. Analysis of a genotype 1b strain from a single-source HCV outbreak in which HLA-B*57 was not protective revealed sequence variations that interfere with immunogenicity, thereby preventing HLA-B*57-mediated immune pressure.
Our data indicate a role of HLA-B*57-restricted CD8+ T cell responses in mediating spontaneous clearance and evolution in HCV infection, and viral strains containing epitope variants that are less recognized abrogate the protective effects of HLA-B*57. The finding that HLA-B*57-mediated antiviral immunity is associated with control of both HIV-1 and HCV suggests a common shared mechanism of a successful immune response against persistent viruses.
PMCID: PMC3021586  PMID: 20875418
CD8 T cell; HLA-B57; spontaneous clearance; viral escape
17.  The Association of HIV Viral Load with Indirect Markers of Liver Injury 
Journal of Viral Hepatitis  2011;19(2):e202-e211.
This study assessed the association of HIV RNA with indirect markers of liver injury including FIB-4 index, liver enzymes and platelet counts in a high-risk Hispanic population. The data were derived from a prospective study that included 138 HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infected and 68 HIV-infected participants without hepatitis C or B co-infection (mono-infected). In unadjusted analyses, detectable HIV viral load (vs. undetectable, <400 copies/ml) was associated with a 40% greater odds (OR 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1 – 1.9, p=0.016) of FIB-4 > 1.45 in the HIV/HCV co-infected group and 70% greater odds of FIB-4 >1.45 (OR 1.7, 95% CI: 1.0–2.8; p=0.046) in the HIV mono-infected group. In multivariable analyses a 1 log10 increase in HIV RNA was associated with a median increase in FIB-4 of 12% in the HIV/HCV co-infected group and 11% in the HIV mono-infected group (p<0.0001). Among the HIV/HCV co-infected, the elevating effect of HIV RNA on FIB-4 was strongest at low CD4 counts (p=0.0037). Among the HIV mono-infected, the association between HIV RNA and FIB-4 was independent of CD4 cell counts. HIV RNA was associated with alterations in both liver enzymes and platelet counts. HIV antiretroviral therapy was not associated with any measure of liver injury examined. This study suggests that HIV may have direct, injurious effects on the liver and that HIV viral load should be considered when these indirect markers are used to assess liver function.
PMCID: PMC3261587  PMID: 22239520
liver disease; HIV; hepatitis C; FIB-4
18.  Histological features and HLA class II alleles in hepatitis C virus chronically infected patients with persistently normal alanine aminotransferase levels 
Gut  2002;51(4):585-590.
Objective: A significant proportion of individuals with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have persistently normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. Although data are controversial, such patients usually have weaker histological damage and a lower progression rate of fibrosis. The aims of this study were: (1) to compare demographic, virological, and histological parameters of HCV patients with normal ALT values with those of HCV patients with elevated ALT levels; and (2) to determine whether HLA class II alleles contribute to the persistence of normal ALT levels in HCV patients.
Patients and methods: Eighty three patients with chronic HCV infection and persistently normal ALT values (group 1) and 233 patients with chronic HCV infection and elevated ALT levels (group 2) were studied. Histological features were expressed using Knodell and Metavir scores. HLA DRB1* and DQB1* genotyping was performed using hybridisation with sequence specific oligonucleotides after genomic amplification. The κ2 and Fisher’s exact tests were used to compare discrete variables and phenotype frequencies between the two groups, and Wilcoxon’s test was used for continuous variables. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine which variables predicted normal ALT values.
Results: ALT levels were correlated with the severity of liver damage. In group 1, 93% of patients had an F0 or F1 Metavir index of fibrosis compared with 47% of patients in group 2 (p<0.001). A longer duration of infection (p<0.001) and increased DRB1*11 phenotype frequency (pc=0.03) were observed among patients with normal ALT. The two groups did not differ with regard to the mode of contamination or viral genotype. After logistic regression, young age (p=0.0008), female sex (p=0.01), long duration of infection (p=0.0001), and HLA DRB1*11 (p=0.050) were more strongly associated with persistence of normal ALT.
Conclusions: Our study confirms that patients with chronic hepatitis C and normal ALT levels have less severe liver disease than those with elevated ALT levels. This particular biochemical outcome may be explained, at least in part, by host immunogenetic factors such as the presence of HLA-DRB1*11.
PMCID: PMC1773404  PMID: 12235085
chronic hepatitis; hepatitis C virus; major histocompatibility complex class II antigens; host response; asymptomatic carrier
19.  HIV Mono-infection Is Associated With FIB-4 – A Noninvasive Index of Liver Fibrosis – in Women 
Predictors of liver fibrosis were evaluated in women using a noninvasive index (FIB-4). HIV RNA levels were associated with increased FIB-4 in the absence of viral hepatitis, alcohol use, or antiretroviral therapy. These data complement evidence suggesting a potential relationship between HIV infection and hepatic fibrosis.
Background. FIB-4 represents a noninvasive, composite index that is a validated measure of hepatic fibrosis, which is an important indicator of liver disease. To date, there are limited data regarding hepatic fibrosis in women.
Methods. FIB-4 was evaluated in a cohort of 1227 women, and associations were evaluated in univariate and multivariate regression models among 4 groups of subjects classified by their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection status.
Results. The median FIB-4 scores were 0.60 in HIV-/HCV- women, 0.83 in HIV-/HCV+ women, 0.86 in HIV+/HCV- women, and 1.30 in HIV+/HCV+ women. In the HIV/HCV co-infected group, multivariate analysis showed that CD4+ cell count and albumin level were negatively associated with FIB-4 (P <.0001), whereas antiretroviral therapy (ART) was positively associated with FIB-4 score (P =.0008). For the HIV mono-infected group, multivariate analysis showed that CD4+ cell count (P <.0001) and albumin level (P =.0019) were negatively correlated with FIB-4 score, ART was positively associated with FIB-4 score (P =.0008), and plasma HIV RNA level was marginally associated with FIB-4 score (P =.080). In 72 HIV mono-infected women who were also hepatitis B surface antigen negative, ART naive, and reported no recent alcohol intake, plasma HIV RNA level was associated with increased FIB-4 score (P =.030).
Conclusions. HIV RNA level was associated with increased FIB-4 score in the absence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, ART, or alcohol use, suggesting a potential relationship between HIV infection and hepatic fibrosis in vivo. A better understanding of the various demographic and virologic variables that contribute to hepatic fibrosis may lead to more effective treatment of HIV infection and its co-morbid conditions.
PMCID: PMC3106241  PMID: 21248367
20.  Kidney and liver organ transplantation in persons with human immunodeficiency virus 
Executive Summary
The objective of this analysis is to determine the effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in persons with end stage organ failure (ESOF) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+)
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Patients with end stage organ failure who have been unresponsive to other forms of treatment eventually require solid organ transplantation. Similar to persons who are HIV negative (HIV−), persons living with HIV infection (HIV+) are at risk for ESOF from viral (e.g. hepatitis B and C) and non-viral aetiologies (e.g. coronary artery disease, diabetes, hepatocellular carcinoma). Additionally, HIV+ persons also incur risks of ESOF from HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), accelerated liver damage from hepatitis C virus (HCV+), with which an estimated 30% of HIV positive (HIV+) persons are co-infected, and coronary artery disease secondary to antiretroviral therapy. Concerns that the need for post transplant immunosuppression and/or the interaction of immunosuppressive drugs with antiretroviral agents may accelerate the progression of HIV disease, as well as the risk of opportunistic infections post transplantation, have led to uncertainty regarding the overall benefit of transplantation among HIV+ patients. Moreover, the scarcity of donor organs and their use in a population where the clinical benefit of transplantation is uncertain has limited the availability of organ transplantation to persons living with ESOF and HIV.
With the development of highly active anti retroviral therapy (HAART), which has been available in Canada since 1997, there has been improved survival and health-related quality of life for persons living with HIV. HAART can suppress HIV replication, enhance immune function, and slow disease progression. HAART managed persons can now be expected to live longer than those in the pre-HAART era and as a result many will now experience ESOF well before they experience life-threatening conditions related to HIV infection. Given their improved prognosis and the burden of illness they may experience from ESOF, the benefit of solid organ transplantation for HIV+ patients needs to be reassessed.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
What are the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in HIV+ persons with ESOF?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on September 22, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1996 to September 22, 2009.
Inclusion Criteria
Systematic review with or without a Meta analysis, RCT, Non-RCT with controls
HIV+ population undergoing solid organ transplantation
HIV+ population managed with HAART therapy
Controls include persons undergoing solid organ transplantation who are i) HIV− ii) HCV+ mono-infected, and iii) HIV+ persons with ESOF not transplanted.
Studies that completed and reported results of a Kaplan-Meier Survival Curve analysis.
Studies with a minimum (mean or medium) follow up of 1-year.
English language citations
Exclusion Criteria
Case reports and case series were excluded form this review.
Outcomes of Interest
i) Risk of Death after transplantation
ii) Death censored graft survival (DCGS)
iii) HIV disease progression defined as the post transplant incidence of:
- opportunistic infections or neoplasms,
- CD4+ T-cell count < 200mm3, and
- any detectable level of plasma HIV viral load.
iv) Acute graft rejection,
v) Return to dialysis,
vi) Recurrence of HCV infection
Summary of Findings
No direct evidence comparing an HIV+ cohort undergoing transplantation with the same not undergoing transplantation (wait list) was found in the literature search.
The results of this review are reported for the following comparison cohorts undergoing transplantation:
i) Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− cohort
ii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− negative cohort
iii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ HCV+ (co-infected) cohort compared with HCV+ (mono-infected) cohort
Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a pooled HIV+ cohort sample size of 285 patients across four studies, the risk of death after kidney transplantation in an HIV+ cohort does not differ to that of an HIV− cohort [hazard ratio (HR): 0.90; 95% CI: 0.36, 2.23]. The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported in one study with an HIV+ cohort sample size of 100, and was statistically significantly different (p=.03) to that in the HIV− cohort (n=36,492). However, the quality of evidence supporting this outcome was determined to be very low. There was also uncertainty in the rate of return to dialysis after kidney transplantation in both the HIV+ and HIV− groups and the effect, if any, this may have on patient survival. Because of the very low quality evidence rating, the effect of kidney transplantation on HIV-disease progression is uncertain.
The rate of acute graft rejection was determined using the data from one study. There was a nonsignificant difference between the HIV+ and HIV− cohorts (OR 0.13; 95% CI: 0.01, 2.64), although again, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in this estimate of effect.
Liver Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a combined HIV+ cohort sample size of 198 patient across five studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation in an HIV+ cohort (with at least 50% of the cohort co-infected with HCV+) is statistically significantly 64% greater compared with an HIV− cohort (HR: 1.64; 95% CI: 1.32, 2.02). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported for an HIV+ cohort in one study (n=11) however the DCGS rate of the contemporaneous control HIV− cohort was not reported. Because of sparse data the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low indicating death censored graft survival is uncertain.
Both the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant with an incidence of opportunistic infection of 20.5%. However, the quality of this evidence for these outcomes is very low indicating uncertainty in these effects. Similarly, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the rate of acute graft rejection among both the HIV+ and HIV− groups
Liver Transplantation: HIV+/HCV+ vs. HCV+
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort sample size of 156 from seven studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation is significantly greater (2.8 fold) in a co-infected cohort compared with an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (HR: 2.81; 95% CI: 1.47, 5.37). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. Death censored graft survival evidence was not available.
Regarding disease progression, based on a combined sample size of 71 persons in the co-infected cohort, the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant; however, again the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. The rate of opportunistic infection in the co-infected cohort was 7.2%. The quality of evidence supporting this estimate is very low, indicating uncertainty in these estimates of effect.
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=57) the rate of acute graft rejection does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.44, 1.76). Also based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=83), the rate of HCV+ recurrence does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.27, 1.59). In both cases, the quality of the supporting evidence was very low.
Overall, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the effect of kidney or liver transplantation in HIV+ persons with end stage organ failure compared with those not infected with HIV. Examining the economics of this issue, the cost of kidney and liver transplants in an HIV+ patient population are, on average, 56K and 147K per case, based on both Canadian and American experiences.
PMCID: PMC3377507  PMID: 23074407
21.  Human Leukocyte Antigen Class II Associations with Hepatitis C Virus Clearance and Virus-Specific CD4 T Cell Response Among Caucasians and African Americans 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2008;48(1):70-79.
The outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been associated with antiviral CD4 T cell response, human leukocyte antigens (HLA) class II genotypes, and ethnicity. However, HLA class II molecules restrict the nature of CD4 T cell response, and HLA distributions differ between ethnic groups. In this study, we asked whether HLA class II genotypes associated with HCV clearance are shared between Caucasian and African Americans and whether they contribute to enhanced antiviral CD4 T cell response. In a cohort of 93 HCV-seropositive subjects from Northeast America with defined ethnicity, virological outcome, and HCV-specific CD4 T cell proliferation, we confirm the previously reported associations between HCV clearance and two HLA types (DQB1*03, DRB1*11) while identifying a new association with DRB3*02. Strikingly, these associations were identified only among Caucasian [DQB1*03: odds ratio (OR), 10.4; P = 0.031, DRB1*11: OR, 7.0, P = 0.019; DRB3*02: OR, 8.3, P = 0.005; DQB1*03-DRB3*02: OR, 13.5, P = 0.001) but not among African American patients. Furthermore, although HLA DQB1*03, DRB1*11, and DRB3*02 genotypes were associated with increased HCV-specific CD4 T cell response in univariate analyses, these associations were lost when controlling for virological outcomes.
We conclude that the immunogenetic basis for HCV clearance differs between ethnic groups and that the association between HLA class II and HCV clearance is not directly explained by antiviral CD4 T cell response.
PMCID: PMC2749605  PMID: 18537178
22.  Ethnic and geographical differences in HLA associations with the outcome of hepatitis C virus infection 
Virology Journal  2009;6:46.
The association of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes with the outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection may be modified by ethnic and geographical differences.
HLA-A, -C, -DRB1 and -DQB1 genotyping were performed in a Midwestern American cohort of 105 HCV infected subjects among which 49 cleared HCV infection and 56 had persistent viral infection. A new protective association of HLA-Cw*05 to HCV infection of all ethnic populations was identified (OR = 0.12, 95% CI = 0.01–0.97, P = 0.03). It was surprising that HLA-A*02 (P for interaction = 0.02) and HLA-DRB1*12 (P for interaction = 0.05) showed statistical interaction with race indicating opposite associations in Caucasians (OR = 2.74 for A*02 and 2.15 for DRB1*12) and non-Caucasians (OR = 0.41 for A*02 and 0.15 for DRB1*12). In addition, HLA-DRB1*01 (OR = 0.26), DQB1*05 (OR = 0.23) and the haplotype DRB1*01-DQB1*05 (OR = 0.19) showed strong associations with viral clearance in Caucasians. The protective associations of A*03 (OR = 0.20) and DQB1*03 (OR = 0.20) were exclusive to non-Caucasians. In contrast, DQB1*02 (OR = 2.56, 95% CI = 1.15–7.71, P = 0.02) and the haplotype DRB1*07-DQB1*02 (OR = 5.25, 95% CI = 1.04–26.6, P = 0.03) were risk markers in Caucasians.
The associations of HLA-A*02 and HLA-DRB1*12 with HCV infection are opposite with different races. HLA-A*03, Cw*05, DRB1*01, DQB1*03 and DQB1*05 are associated with viral clearance while HLA-DRB1*07 and DQB1*02 are risk markers for viral persistence of HCV infection in Midwestern Americans. These results reveal ethnically and geographically different distribution of HLA-genes which are associated with the outcome of HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC2679741  PMID: 19409091
23.  Hepatitis C Virus Infection among Injection Drug Users with and without Human Immunodeficiency Virus Co-Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94791.
The aim of this study is to explore the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among injection drug users (IDUs) with and without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in southern Taiwan. For 562 IDUs (265 anti-HIV negative, 297 anti-HIV positive), we analyzed liver function, anti-HIV antibody, anti-HCV antibody, HCV viral loads, and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). HIV RNA viral loads and CD4 cell count for anti-HIV-seropositive IDUs and the HCV genotype for HCV RNA-seropositive IDUs were measured. The seroprevalence rates of anti-HIV, anti-HCV, and HBsAg were 52.8%, 91.3%, and 15.3%, respectively. All the anti-HIV-seropositive IDUs were positive for HIV RNA. Anti-HCV seropositivity was the most important factor associated with HIV infection (odds ratio [OR], 25.06; 95% confidence intervals [CI], 8.97–74.9), followed by male gender (OR, 6.12; 95% CI, 4.05–9.39) and HBsAg seropositivity (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.11–3.34). Among IDUs positive for anti-HCV, 80.7% had detectable HCV RNA. HCV viremia after HCV exposure was strongly related to HIV infection (OR, 6.262; 95% CI, 1.515–18.28), but negatively correlated to HBsAg seropositivity (OR, 0.161; 95% CI, 0.082–0.317). HCV genotype 6 was the most prevalent genotype among all IDUs (41.0%), followed by genotypes 1 (32.3%), 3 (12.8%), and 2 (5.6%). In conclusion, about half IDUs were infected with HIV and >90% with HCV infection. Male and seropositivity for HBsAg and anti-HCV were factors related to HIV infection among our IDUs. HIV was positively correlated, whereas hepatitis B co-infection was negatively correlated with HCV viremia among IDUs with HCV exposure. Different HCV molecular epidemiology was noted among IDUs.
PMCID: PMC3983255  PMID: 24722534
24.  Genetic variants in antigen presentation-related genes influence susceptibility to hepatitis C virus and viral clearance: a case control study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):3837.
Genes related to antigen presentation pathway, which are in the non-classical class-II region of human leukocyte antigen (HLA), play a vital role during the infection of hepatitis C virus (HCV).
The current study determined the genotypes of 34 tagging-SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) from 9 candidate genes (HLA-DMA, HLA-DMB, HLA-DOA, HLA-DOB, TAP1, TAP2, LMP2, LMP7, and tapasin) in a Chinese population of paid blood donors with high risk of HCV infection. The distributions of those SNPs were compared among the 1207 former paid blood donors with different HCV infection outcomes.
HLA-DMA rs1063478 and HLA-DOA rs2284191 were independent factors of acquiring HCV infection. Carrying three favorable alleles of rs1063478-T and rs2284191-G offered the highest protective effect (odds ratio = 0.46, 95% confidence intervals = 0.27-0.78). HLA-DOB rs7383287 and LMP2 rs17587 were independent factors of infection chronicity. Subjects carrying two favorable alleles of rs7383287-G and rs17587-A had a decreased risk of HCV chronicity (odds ratio = 0.42, 95% confidence intervals = 0.26-0.66). The interaction analysis showed that experience of plasma donation interacted with the combined effects of rs1063478 and rs2284191 for HCV susceptibility, and the experience of whole blood donation interacted with the association of rs7383287 with HCV clearance.
Our results suggested that genetic variants in antigen presentation pathway had influence on susceptibility to HCV infection and viral clearance. HLA-DMA rs1063478, HLA-DOA rs2284191, and HLA-DOB rs7383287 were identified as novel loci in Chinese population that were involved in HCV infection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0716-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4279674  PMID: 25528575
Hepatitis C; Genetic polymorphism; Human leukocyte antigen; Infection outcomes; Chinese population
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the major cause of liver disease in hemophilia. Few data exist on the proportion with liver fibrosis in this group after long-term HCV and HIV co-infection.
We conducted a cross-sectional multi-center study to determine impact of HIV on the prevalence and risk factors for fibrosis in hemophilic men with chronic hepatitis C.
Biopsies were independently scored by Ishak, Metavir, and Knodell systems. Variables were tested for associations with fibrosis by logistic regression and receiver operating curves (ROC).
Of 220 biopsied HCV(+) men, 23.6% had Metavir ≥F3 fibrosis, with higher mean Metavir fibrosis scores among HIV/HCV co-infected than HCV mono-infected, 1.6 vs. 1.3 (p=0.044). Variables significantly associated with fibrosis included AST, ALT, APRI score (AST/ULN×100/platelet ×109/L), alpha-fetoprotein (all p<0.0001), platelets (p=0.0003), and ferritin (p=0.0008). In multiple logistic regression of serum markers, alpha-fetoprotein, APRI, and ALT were significantly associated with ≥ F3 fibrosis, AUROC=0.77 (95%CI 0.69, 0.86). Alpha-fetoprotein, APRI, and ferritin were significant in HIV(−), (AUROC 0.82 (95%CI 0.72, 0.92), and alpha-fetoprotein and platelets in HIV(+) (AUROC=0.77 (95%CI 0.65, 0.88). In a multivariable model of demographic and clinical variables, transformed (natural logarithm) of alpha-fetoprotein (p=0.0003), age (p=0.006), and HCV treatment (p=0.027) were significantly associated with fibrosis.
Nearly one-fourth of hemophilic men have Metavir ≥ 3 fibrosis. The odds for developing fibrosis are increased in those with elevated alpha-fetoprotein, increasing age, and past HCV treatment.
PMCID: PMC2990788  PMID: 20722744
Hepatitis C; Fibrosis; Hemophilia; Transfusion; Metavir; Receiver operating curve

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