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1.  Hematologic Toxicity Assocated with Interferon-Based Hepatitis C Therapy in HIV Type 1-Coinfected Subjects 
Background
This study investigates whether dose modifications for adverse hematologic effects or the use of hematopoietic growth factors influenced the outcome of therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients who were coinfected with HCV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and who were participants in a randomized, controlled trial.
Methods
Subjects were randomized to receive ribavirin plus interferon-alfa-2a (IFN-alfa-2a) or pegylated IFN-alfa-2a for a total of 48 weeks. Doses were modified for a number of adverse effects (including hematologic toxicity), and hematopoietic growth factors were administered at the discretion of the physician. Associations of dose modifications or initiation of hematopoietic growth factor support with treatment outcomes were determined by standard statistical methods.
Results
One hundred thirty-three subjects were included in this study. Subjects treated with pegylated IFN-alfa-2a were more likely to have had dose modifications (dose reduction or discontinuation) than were those treated with IFN-alfa-2a. By multivariate analysis, treatment with pegylated IFN-alfa-2a is associated with higher sustained virologic and/or histologic response. Dose modifications for nonhematologic toxicity are independently associated with lower sustained virologic and/or histologic responses. Although hematologic toxicity was not directly associated with clinical outcome in this analysis, use of hematopoietic growth factors was associated with an increased sustained virologic and/or histologic response.
Conclusions
Dose modifications for anti-HCV therapy may adversely affect the outcome of treatment of HCV in individuals who are coinfected with HIV. The use of hematopoietic growth factor support may be associated with an improved clinical response to therapy.
doi:10.1086/515398
PMCID: PMC4075655  PMID: 17443478
2.  Viral Factors Associated with Cytokine Expression During HCV/HIV Co-Infection 
Co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with reduced hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment response and accelerated HCV disease. Cytokines, as mediators of immune responses, inflammation, and fibrogenesis, may underlie important differences in HCV pathogenesis during HIV co-infection. We previously found that serum interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) increased after HCV therapy with interferon (IFN) in HCV/HIV co-infected patients; however, cytokine levels were not predictive of HCV therapeutic response. Here, we examined viral factors associated with expression of IL-8, TNF-α, and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) in uninfected, HCV mono-infected, HIV mono-infected, and HCV/HIV co-infected persons. HIV co-infection was associated with decreased IL-8 detection but not TNF-α detection. A significant interaction effect demonstrated that HIV infection was associated with elevated TGF-β1 in HCV-positive individuals but not in HCV-negative individuals. The induction of a sustained profibrotic signal, such as TGF-β1, by HIV may cause accelerated liver fibrosis during HCV/HIV co-infection and may hinder the host’s ability to mount an effective HCV-specific immune response. Further studies are warranted to identify noninvasive markers of liver disease for the clinical management of HCV disease, particularly when liver biopsies have not been performed or are contraindicated.
doi:10.1089/jir.2006.0147
PMCID: PMC4066618  PMID: 17477814
3.  De novo malignancies following liver transplantation: a case–control study with long-term follow-up 
Clinical transplantation  2006;20(5):617-623.
Background
Long-term survival data on de novo malignancy are limited following orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) when compared with controls without malignancies.
Methods
Over a 12 yr period at our institution, 50 of 1043 patients (4.8%) who underwent OLT were identified to have 53 de novo malignancies. The clinical characteristics and survival of these patients were retrospectively reviewed and compared with a control cohort of 50 OLT recipients without malignancy matched with the incidence cases by age, year of OLT, sex, and type of liver disease.
Results
Chronic hepatitis C, alcohol and primary sclerosing cholangitis were the three leading causes of liver disease. Skin cancer was the most common malignancy (32%), followed by gastrointestinal (21%), including five small bowel tumors, and hematologic malignancies (17%). The cases and controls were not significantly different in the immunosuppressive regimen (p = 0.42) or the number of rejection episodes (p = 0.92). The five- and 10-year Kaplan–Meier survival rates for the cases were 77% and 34%, respectively, vs. 84% and 70%, respectively, for the controls (p = 0.02 by log-rank test). Patients with skin cancers had survival similar to the controls, but significantly better than non-skin cancers (p = 0.0001). The prognosis for patients with gastrointestinal tumors was poor, with a median survival of 8.5 months after the diagnosis.
Conclusion
In this single institutional study, de novo malignancies after OLT were uncommon. Patients with non-skin cancer after OLT had diminished long-term survival compared with the controls. Our results differ from other reports in the high incidence of gastrointestinal malignancies with attendant poor prognosis.
doi:10.1111/j.1399-0012.2006.00527.x
PMCID: PMC4050657  PMID: 16968488
de novo malignancies; orthotopic liver transplantation
4.  Recurrent Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Peritransplant Factors and Ursodeoxycholic Acid Treatment Post-Liver Transplant 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) recurs after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in up to one-third of patients. These patients are typically asymptomatic, can be identified by abnormal liver biochemistries, and have evidence of histologic recurrence on liver biopsy. The effect of treatment on recurrence has not been determined. This pilot study evaluates the factors associated with recurrent PBC and describes our experience using ursodeoxycholic acid treatment in this patient population. Forty-eight patients with PBC were followed for at least 1 yr post-OLT, and 27 patients (56%) developed abnormal serum alkaline phosphatase. Seventeen patients (35%) had evidence of recurrent PBC by liver biopsy. Patients with recurrent PBC had a trend toward longer warm ischemia times and more episodes of acute cellular rejection in the first year posttransplant, but this was not significant in multivariate analysis. Donor or recipient age, donor and recipient cytomegalovirus status, and dose of immunosuppression did not correlate with recurrence of PBC. Those patients diagnosed with recurrent PBC were placed on ursodeoxycholic acid, 15 mg/kg daily, with improvement in serum alkaline phosphatase in the majority. In conclusion, recurrent PBC is not infrequent post-OLT, and ursodeoxycholic acid can be used with some benefit post-OLT. Treatment effects on long-term survival are not known.
doi:10.1002/lt.20511
PMCID: PMC4050662  PMID: 16184542
5.  Viral Kinetics in Hepatitis C or Hepatitis C/Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Infected Patients 
Gastroenterology  2005;128(2):313-327.
Background & Aims
Kinetic modeling of hepatitis C virus (HCV) response to interferon (IFN)-based therapy provides insights into factors associated with treatment outcomes. HCV/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–co-infected patients show lower response rates vs. HCV-monoinfected patients. Reasons for this remain unclear. This study evaluated kinetic parameters and treatment responses in co-infected vs monoinfected patients.
Methods
Co-infected patients were randomized within a US multicenter trial (ACTG 5071) to receive pegylatedinterferon (PEG-IFN) alfa-2a + ribavirin vs. IFN alfa-2a + ribavirin. Monoinfected controls were matched prospectively for treatment, genotype, age, sex, race, and histology. Quantitative HCV-RNA testing was performed at hours 0, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72; days 7, 10, 14, 28, and 56; and weeks 12, 24, 48, and 72.
Results
Twelve HCV/HIV–co-infected and 15 HCV-monoinfected patients underwent viral kinetic sampling. Among HIV-positive patients the mean CD4+ count was 325 cells/mm3. Seventy-five percent of patients were genotype 1. The HCV-RNA level was undetectable at 72 weeks in 25% and 40% of co-infected and monoinfected patients, respectively. Phase 1/2 declines, free virus clearance rate, and infected hepatocyte death rate were not affected by co-infection status but differed by treatment. Efficiency (∈) ≥ 90% at 60 hours was associated with viral clearance (P = .02). Modeling with pooled parameters suggests baseline viral load is a key factor in time to response in this cohort. Predicted clearance time increased by 28% in co-infected patients.
Conclusions
Co-infection status did not affect key kinetic parameters. Among kinetic parameters, efficiency was associated significantly with viral clearance. Co-infected patients may require longer treatment duration than monoinfected patients given their generally higher baseline viral loads.
PMCID: PMC4036101  PMID: 15685543
6.  Biliary Bile Acids in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Effect of Ursodeoxycholic Acid 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  1999;29(6):1649-1654.
Bile acid composition in fasting duodenal bile was assessed at entry and at 2 years in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) (10–12 mg/kg/d) taken as a single bedtime dose. Specimens were analyzed by a high-pressure liquid chromatography method that had been validated against gas chromatography. Percent composition in bile (mean ± SD) for 98 patients at entry for cholic (CA), chenodeoxycholic (CDCA), deoxycholic (DCA), lithocholic (LCA), and ursodeoxycholic (UDCA) acids, respectively, were 57.4 ± 18.6, 31.5 ± 15.5, 8.0 ± 9.3, 0.3 ± 1.0, and 0.6 ± 0.9. Values for CA were increased, whereas those for CDCA, DCA, LCA, and UDCA were decreased when compared with values in normal persons. Bile acid composition of the major bile acids did not change after 2 years on placebo medication. By contrast, in patients receiving UDCA for 2 years, bile became enriched with UDCA on average to 40.1%, and significant decreases were noted for CA (to 32.2%) and CDCA (to 19.5%). No change in percent composition was observed for DCA and LCA. Percent composition at entry and changes in composition after 2 years on UDCA were similar in patients with varying severity of PBC. In patients whose bile was not enriched in UDCA (entry and placebo-treated specimens), CA, CDCA, DCA, and the small amount of UDCA found in some of these specimens were conjugated to a greater extent with glycine (52%–64%) than with taurine (36%–48%). Treatment with UDCA caused the proportion of all endogenous bile acids conjugated with glycine to increase to 69% to 78%, while the proportion conjugated with taurine (22%–31%) fell (P < .05). Administered UDCA was also conjugated predominantly with glycine (87%).
doi:10.1002/hep.510290618
PMCID: PMC4004074  PMID: 10347103
7.  The Effect of Ursodeoxycholic Acid on the Florid Duct Lesion of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  1999;30(3):602-605.
The frequency with which florid duct lesions are seen in needle-biopsy specimens of the liver was assessed in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) enrolled in a 2-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) versus placebo. Paired biopsy specimens obtained at entry and after 2 years on medication were reviewed blindly and mostly simultaneously by a panel of 5 hepatopathologists who, earlier, had characterized the florid duct lesion, which has been well described in the pathology literature. Florid duct lesions at entry were identified in approximately 36%. Patients with earlier disease showed florid duct lesions much more frequently than those with more advanced disease. The prevalence of florid duct lesions in 60 patients receiving placebo medication fell from 38.3% to 21.7%, P = .025, over the period of 2 years. The prevalence of florid duct lesions also decreased in the 55 patients receiving UDCA, from 32.7% to 18.2%, P = .046. The prevalences of these lesions in the placebo and UDCA patients at entry and at 2 years were not significantly different from each other. The findings suggest that UDCA does not prevent ongoing bile duct destruction in patients with PBC. Instead, they support the impression that UDCA exerts its beneficial effects by protecting against the consequences of bile duct destruction.
doi:10.1002/hep.510300315
PMCID: PMC3935822  PMID: 10462363
8.  Prolonged Follow-Up of Patients in the U.S. Multicenter Trial of Ursodeoxycholic Acid for Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
OBJECTIVE
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) have not demonstrated improvement in survival during the placebo-controlled phases of these trials. Analyses purporting to demonstrate a survival advantage of UDCA are largely dependent on data obtained after the placebo phases were terminated, and placebo-treated patients were offered open-label UDCA. After completion of our 2-yr placebo-controlled trial of UDCA in which we observed no survival benefit for UDCA, we provided the patients with open-label UDCA to see if delay in providing UDCA for 2 yr had any effect on subsequent liver transplantation or death without liver transplantation.
METHODS
In our previously reported 2-yr placebo-controlled trial, 151 patients with PBC were randomized to receive either UDCA (n = 77) or placebo (n = 74). The number of patients who progressed to liver transplantation or death without transplantation were similar in both the groups, 12 (16%) in the UDCA-treated and 11 (15%) in placebo-treated patients. All the patients were then offered open-label UDCA, with 61 original UDCA and 56 original placebo-treated patients now taking UDCA in an extended open-label phase of the trial.
RESULTS
No significant differences were observed in the number of patients who underwent liver transplantation or died without liver transplantation in the open-label phase of the trial. Moreover, no difference in the time to these endpoints was seen over the period of observation of as long as 6 yr from the time of initial randomization.
CONCLUSIONS
Results of open-label extensions of previous conducted placebo-controlled trials of UDCA in PBC leave uncertain whether UDCA impacts significantly on liver transplantation and death without liver transplantation in patients with PBC.
PMCID: PMC3891562  PMID: 15046215
9.  Lower Liver-Related Death in African American Women With HIV/HCV Co-Infection Compared to Caucasian and Hispanic Women 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(5):1699-1705.
Among individuals with and without concurrent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), racial/ethnic differences in the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) have been described. African-Americans have lower spontaneous HCV clearance than Caucasians, yet slower rates of liver fibrosis once chronically infected. It is not clear how these differences in the natural history of hepatitis C affect mortality, in either HIV positive or negative individuals. We conducted a cohort study of HIV/HCV co-infected women followed in the multicenter, NIH-funded Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) to determine the association of self-reported race/ethnicity with all-cause and liver-related mortality. Survival analyses were performed using Cox proportional hazards models. The eligible cohort (n=794) included 140 Caucasians, 159 Hispanics, and 495 African Americans. There were 438 deaths and 49 liver-related deaths during a median follow-up of 8.9 years and maximum follow-up of 16 years. African American co-infected women had significantly lower liver-related mortality compared to Caucasian (HR 0.41 95% CI 0.19–0.88, p=0.022) and Hispanic co-infected women (HR 0.38 95% CI 0.19–0.76, p=0.006). All-cause mortality was similar between racial/ethnic groups (HRs for all comparisons 0.82–1.03, logrank p=0.8).
Conclusions
African American co-infected women were much less likely to die from liver disease as compared to Caucasians and Hispanics, independent of other causes of death. Future studies are needed to investigate the reasons for this marked racial/ethnic discrepancy in liver-related mortality.
doi:10.1002/hep.25859
PMCID: PMC3440547  PMID: 22618868
race; ethnicity; viral hepatitis; mortality; gender
10.  Liver Disease in Women: The Influence of Gender on Epidemiology, Natural History, and Patient Outcomes 
Gastroenterology & Hepatology  2013;9(10):633-639.
Women more commonly present with acute liver failure, autoimmune hepatitis, benign liver lesions, primary biliary cirrhosis, and toxin-mediated hepatotoxicity. Women less commonly have malignant liver tumors, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and viral hepatitis. There is a decreased rate of decompensated cirrhosis in women with hepatitis C virus infection, no survival difference in alcohol-related liver disease, and improved survival from hepatocellular carcinoma. In general, men are 2-fold more likely to die from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis than are women. Liver transplant occurs less commonly in women than in men, with variable disease outcomes based on etiology. This review highlights the epidemiology, natural history, treatment outcomes, and pathophysiology of common liver diseases in women and discusses how gender influences disease incidence, presentation, progression, and outcomes. Pregnancy-related liver disease is not covered.
PMCID: PMC3992057  PMID: 24764777
Epidemiology; female; gender; liver disease; sex
11.  Genome wide association study of spontaneous resolution of hepatitis C virus infection 
Annals of internal medicine  2013;158(4):235-245.
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections occur worldwide and either spontaneously resolve or persist and markedly increase the person’s lifetime risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Although HCV persistence occurs more often in persons of African ancestry and in persons with a genetic variant near IL28B, the genetic basis is not well understood.
Objective
To evaluate the host genetic basis for spontaneous resolution of HCV infection.
Design
Two-stage genome wide association study (GWAS).
Setting
13 international multicenter study sites.
Patients
919 individuals with serum HCV antibodies but no HCV RNA (spontaneous resolution) and 1482 individuals with serum HCV antibodies and RNA (persistence).
Measurements
Frequencies of 792,721 SNPs.
Results
Differences in allele frequencies between persons with spontaneous resolution and persistence were identified on chromosomes 19q13.13 and 6p21.32. On chromosome 19, allele frequency differences localized near IL28B and included rs12979860 (overall per-allele OR = 0.45, P = 2.17 × 10−30) and 10 additional SNPs spanning 55,000 bases. On chromosome 6, allele frequency differences localized near genes for class II human leukocyte antigens (HLA) and included rs4273729 (overall per-allele OR= 0.59, P = 1.71 × 10−16) near DQB1*03:01 and an additional 116 SNPs spanning 1,090,000 base pairs. The associations in chromosomes 19 and 6 were independent, additive, and explain an estimated 14.9% (95% CI: 8.5–22.6%) of the variation in HCV resolution in those of European-Ancestry, and 15.8% (95% CI:4.4–31.0%) in individuals of African-Ancestry. Replication of the chromosome 6 SNP, rs4272729 in an additional 746 individuals confirmed the findings (p=0.015).
Limitations
Epigenetic effects were not studied.
Conclusions
IL28B and HLA class II are independently associated with spontaneous resolution of HCV infection and SNPs marking IL28B and DQB1*03:01 may explain ~15% of spontaneous resolution of HCV infection.
doi:10.7326/0003-4819-158-4-201302190-00003
PMCID: PMC3638215  PMID: 23420232
12.  Assessing mortality in women with hepatitis C virus and HIV using indirect markers of fibrosis 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(5):599-607.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32834fa121
PMCID: PMC3698040  PMID: 22156972
fibrosis markers; hepatitis C virus; HIV; longitudinal study; mortality
13.  Provisional Guidance on the Use of Hepatitis C Virus Protease Inhibitors for Treatment of Hepatitis C in HIV-Infected Persons 
In May 2011, hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitors (PIs) were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat persons with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but not those dually infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Although critical safety and efficacy data are lacking, the availability of the drugs and substantial medical need justify the off-label use of HCV PIs in select HIV/HCV-coinfected persons. Pending results of ongoing investigations, this article represents provisional guidance on the use of HCV PIs in HIV-infected persons.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir882
PMCID: PMC3404695  PMID: 22173234
14.  Complement mediated hepatocytes injury in a model of autoantibody induced hepatitis 
Immunobiology  2010;216(4):528-534.
Despite multiple reports on autoantibody-initiated complement activation in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), how does the humoral immunity contribute to the pathogenesis of AIH remained unclear. In this report, by adoptively transferring a polyclonal rabbit anti-OVA antibody into Hep-OVA Tg mice in which OVA is selectively expressed on the surface of hepatocytes, we found that excessive complement activation initiated by the autoantibody overwhelmed the protection of intrinsic cell surface complement regulators, and induced hepatocytes injury both in vitro and in vivo. The anti-OVA antibody induced hepatic injury in Hep-OVA Tg but not WT C57BL/6 mice as assessed by serum ALT levels and liver histopathology. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that after the antibody administration, there was massive complement activation on anti-OVA IgG coated hepatocytes in Hep-OVA Tg mice, but not in WT mice. Consistent with these results, depleting complement by cobra venom factor (CVF) prior to antibody injections protected Hep-OVA Tg mice from anti-OVA IgG induced hepatic injury. In addition, treating Hep-OVA Tg mice with recombinant mouse decay accelerating factor, a native complement inhibitor, protected them from autoantibody induced hepatitis. These results suggest that complement could play a pivotal role in liver specific autoantibody mediated hepatocyte injury in AIH, and that complement inhibitors could be, in principle, developed as novel therapeutics against AIH.
doi:10.1016/j.imbio.2010.08.004
PMCID: PMC3557916  PMID: 20851495
autoimmune hepatitis; complement; autoantibody; complement regulators
15.  The Relation of HLA Genotype to Hepatitis C Viral Load and Markers of Liver Fibrosis in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Women 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(12):1807-1814.
Background. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and II genotype is associated with clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but little is known regarding its relation with HCV viral load or risk of liver disease in patients with persistent HCV infection.
Methods. High-resolution HLA class I and II genotyping was conducted in a prospective cohort of 519 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–seropositive and 100 HIV-seronegative women with persistent HCV infection. The end points were baseline HCV viral load and 2 noninvasive indexes of liver disease, fibrosis-4 (FIB-4), and the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI), measured at baseline and prospectively.
Results. DQB1*0301 was associated with low baseline HCV load (β = −.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], −.6 to −.3; P < .00001), as well as with low odds of FIB-4–defined (odds ratio [OR], .5; 95% CI, .2–.9; P = .02) and APRI-defined liver fibrosis (OR, .5; 95% CI, .3–1.0; P = .06) at baseline and/or during follow-up. Most additional associations with HCV viral load also involved HLA class II alleles. Additional associations with FIB-4 and APRI primarily involved class I alleles, for example, the relation of B*1503 with APRI-defined fibrosis had an OR of 2.0 (95% CI, 1.0–3.7; P = .04).
Conclusions. HLA genotype may influence HCV viral load and risk of liver disease, including DQB1*0301, which was associated with HCV clearance in prior studies.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jir192
PMCID: PMC3100515  PMID: 21606539
16.  Sustained Long-term Antiviral Maintenance Therapy in HCV/HIV Coinfected Patients (SLAM-C) 
Background
HCV/HIV coinfection treatment is suboptimal with low SVR rates to standard therapies. A multicenter randomized clinical trial designed to assess the efficacy/safety of pegylated-interferon maintenance therapy was performed by the NIH-funded ACTG network.
Methods
HCV treatment naïve and non-responding interferon-experienced subjects with confirmed HCV and HIV, CD4>200 cells/mm3, and at least Stage 1 fibrosis were enrolled, and treated for 12 weeks with pegylated interferon alfa 2a 180 mcg/week (PEG) + weight-based ribavirin to determine response status. Non-responder subjects (failure to clear HCV RNA or achieve 2-log drop) underwent liver biopsy and were randomized to receive full dose PEG or observation only for 72 weeks. Paired biopsies were evaluated by a central pathologist.
Results
330 subjects were enrolled; median age was 48 years; 43% White, 37% Black, non-Hispanic; 83% male; CD4+ 498 cells/mm3; 32% were interferon experienced; 74% had entry HIV RNA<50 cp/ml. EVR was observed in 55.9% and 42.5% achieved cEVR. A planned interim analysis of occurred when 84 subjects were randomized. With data on 40 paired biopsies available, a safety monitoring board stopped the trial due to lack of fibrosis progression (median = 0 Metavir units/year) in the observation arm.
Conclusion
Lack of fibrotic progression in the control arm was unexpected, and may represent a short-term PEG/ribavirin therapy effect, high levels of HIV viral suppression and use of antiretroviral regimens that may be less toxic than prior generations of therapy.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181f6d916
PMCID: PMC3017670  PMID: 20921898
HCV; HIV; Maintenance; Racial Disparity; Fibrosis
17.  Influence of Cannabis Use on Severity of Hepatitis C Disease 
Background
Complications of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are primarily related to the development of advanced fibrosis.
Methods
Baseline data from a prospective community-based cohort study of 204 persons with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were used for analysis. The outcome was fibrosis score on biopsy and the primary predictor evaluated was daily cannabis use.
Results
The median age of the cohort was 46.8 years, 69.1% were male, 49.0% were Caucasian, and the presumed route of infection was injection drug use in 70.1%. The median lifetime duration and average daily use of alcohol were 29.1 years and 1.94 drink equivalents per day. Cannabis use frequency (within prior 12 months) was daily in 13.7%, occasional in 45.1%, and never in 41.2%. Fibrosis stage, assessed by Ishak method, was F0, F1–2 and F3–6 in 27.5%, 55.4% and 17.2% of subjects, respectively. Daily compared to non-daily cannabis use was significantly associated with moderate to severe fibrosis (F3–6 versus F1–2) in univariate [OR = 3.21 (95% CI, 1.20–8.56), p = 0.020] and multivariate analyses (OR = 6.78, (1.89–24.31), p=0.003). Other independent predictors of F3–6 were ≥11 portal tracts (compared to <5, OR = 6.92 (1.34–35.7), p=0.021] and lifetime duration of moderate and heavy alcohol use [OR per decade = 1.72 (1.02–2.90), p=0.044].
Conclusion
We conclude that daily cannabis use is strongly associated with moderate to severe fibrosis and that HCV-infected individuals should be counseled to reduce or abstain from cannabis use.
doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2007.10.021
PMCID: PMC3184401  PMID: 18166478
fibrosis; alcohol; viral load; marijuana; cirrhosis
18.  Large-Scale candidate gene analysis of spontaneous hepatitis C virus clearance 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;201(9):1371-1380.
Human genetic variation is a determinant of recovery from an acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but, to date, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a limited number of genes have been studied with respect to HCV clearance. We determined whether SNPs in 112 selected immune-response genes are important for HCV clearance by genotyping 1536 SNPs in a cohort of 343 persons with natural HCV clearance and 547 persons with HCV persistence. PLINK and Haploview software packages were used to perform association, permutation, and haplotype analyses stratified by African-American (AA) and European-American (EA) race. Of the 1536 SNPs tested, 1426 were successfully genotyped (92.8%). In AAs, we identified 18 SNPs located in 11 gene regions that were associated with HCV outcome (empirical p-value < 0.01). In EAs, there were 20 SNPs located in eight gene regions associated with HCV outcome. Four of the gene regions studied (TNFSF18, TANK, HAVCR1 and IL18BP) contained SNPs with empirical p-values < 0.01 in both of the race groups.
Conclusion
In this large-scale analysis of 1426 genotyped SNPs in 112 candidate genes, we identified four gene regions that are likely candidates for a role in HCV clearance or persistence in both AAs and EAs.
doi:10.1086/651606
PMCID: PMC2853721  PMID: 20331378
TANK; TNFSF18; HAVCR1; IL18BP; genetics
19.  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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1002/hep.23515
PMCID: PMC2946382  PMID: 20169624
human leukocyte antigen; HIV; injection drug user; multiple comparisons; killer immunoglobulin-like receptor
20.  Hepatitis C Seropositivity and Kidney Function Decline Among Women With HIV: Data From the Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Background
How co-infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) impacts on the trajectory of kidney function among HIV-infected patients is unclear. This study examined the effect of HCV on kidney function over time among women infected with HIV.
Study Design
Retrospective observational cohort
Setting and Participants
Study sample included participants from the Women's Interagency HIV Study who were HIV-infected and had received HCV antibody testing and serum creatinine measurement at baseline.
Predictor
HCV seropositivity
Outcomes and Measurement
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) calculated from semi-annual serum creatinine measurements using the 4-variable Modification of Diet in Renal Diseases (MDRD) Study equation. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate the independent effect of being HCV seropositive on eGFR over time, adjusting for demographic factors, co-morbid conditions, illicit drug use, measures of HIV disease status, use of medications, and interactions with baseline low eGFR (<60 mL/min/1.73m2).
Results
Of the 2,684 HIV-infected women, 952 (35%) were found to be HCV seropositive. For 180 women with CKD at baseline (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73m2), being HCV seropositive was independently associated with a fully-adjusted net decline in eGFR of about 5% per year (95% CI: 3.2 to 7.2%), relative to women who were seronegative. In contrast, HCV was not independently associated with decline in eGFR among women without low eGFR at baseline (p<0.001 for interaction).
Limitations
The MDRD Study equation has not been validated as a measure of GFR among persons with HIV or HCV. Proteinuria was not included in the study analysis. Because the study is observational, the effects of residual confounding cannot be excluded.
Conclusions
Among HIV-infected women with CKD, co-infection with HCV is associated with a modest, but statistically significant decline in eGFR over time. More careful monitoring of kidney function may be warranted for HIV-infected patients with CKD who are also co-infected with HCV.
doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2009.02.009
PMCID: PMC2997705  PMID: 19394735
hepatitis C virus; HIV; kidney diseases; women
21.  Hepatitis resulting from liver-specific expression and recognition of self-antigen 
Journal of autoimmunity  2008;31(3):208-215.
Liver-specific immune reactivity in response to aberrant expression of antigen on the surface of hepatocytes is thought to be a major factor in development of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). Persistent inflammation develops when these antigens are not eliminated and/or responses are not appropriately regulated. We have developed transgenic mice (OVA-HEP), which express chicken ovalbumin on the surface of hepatocytes. These mice are tolerant to ovalbumin, develop normally and have shown no evidence of liver or other disease up to 2 years of age. Adoptive transfer of naïve ovalbumin specific T cells into OVA-HEP transgenic mice led to liver specific inflammation in a dose dependent manner. This hepatic necroinflammation was dependent upon CD8+ Vα2 OVA specific T cells; was limited to the liver; and was augmented by OVA-specific CD4+ T cell help; but did not result from adoptive transfer of ovalbumin specific CD4 T cells alone. The response was self limited but persistent inflammation developed after repeated transfer of antigen specific T cells. This model of T cell recognition of antigen on hepatocytes may be used to understand many liver-specific aspects of the immune response in autoimmune hepatitis.
doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2008.04.015
PMCID: PMC2635013  PMID: 18513923
antigen-specific; autoimmunity; Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH); acute hepatitis; chronic hepatitis

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