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1.  Alcohol Use and Hepatitis C 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2002;36(5 0 1):S220-S225.
Excess alcohol consumption can worsen the course and outcome of chronic hepatitis C. It is important to distinguish between alcohol abuse, which must be treated on its own merits, and the effect of alcohol use on progression, severity, and treatment of hepatitis C. Most studies on the effects of alcohol on hepatitis C have focused on patients, with high levels of daily alcohol intake. Indeed, the adverse effects of light and moderate amounts of alcohol intake on hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have not been clearly shown, and only limited studies have been performed. Sex differences exist in the effect of alcohol on fibrosis as well as on the severity of hepatitis C. Alcohol use has been reported to be associated with lower responses to therapy and, in some studies, higher HCV RNA levels and increased HCV quasi-species. Few studies address the treatment of hepatitis C in the alcoholic individual or determine the effect of continued light or moderate alcohol use on the outcome of treatment response. In summary, many critical questions remain regarding the interactions between alcohol and hepatitis C. Currently, the evidence from the literature shows that heavy alcohol intake worsens the outcome of HCV infection. The literature is inadequate to provide definitive recommendations regarding the effect of light to moderate alcohol use in patients with hepatitis C.
PMCID: PMC4123319  PMID: 12407597
2.  Admixture Analysis of Spontaneous Hepatitis C Virus Clearance in Individuals of African-Descent 
Genes and immunity  2014;15(4):241-246.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects an estimated 3% of the global population with the majority of individuals (75–85%) failing to clear the virus without treatment, leading to chronic liver disease. Individuals of African-descent have lower rates of clearance compared to individuals of European-descent and this is not fully explained by social and environmental factors. This suggests that differences in genetic background may contribute to this difference in clinical outcome following HCV infection. Using 473 individuals and 792,721 SNPs from a genome-wide association study (GWAS), we estimated local African ancestry across the genome. Using admixture mapping and logistic regression we identified two regions of interest associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV (15q24, 20p12). A genome-wide significant variant was identified on chromosome 15 at the imputed SNP, rs55817928 (P=6.18×10−8) between the genes SCAPER and RCN. Each additional copy of the African ancestral C allele is associated with 2.4 times the odds of spontaneous clearance. Conditional analysis using this SNP in the logistic regression model explained one-third of the local ancestry association. Additionally, signals of selection in this area suggest positive selection due to some ancestral pathogen or environmental pressure in African, but not in European populations.
PMCID: PMC4308959  PMID: 24622687
Hepatitis C; Chronic Infection; Admixture; African Ancestry
3.  Association of HIV Infection, Hepatitis C Virus Infection, and Metabolic Factors With Liver Stiffness Measured by Transient Elastography 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(11):1776-1783.
Background. Few studies have examined the relationship of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) monoinfection and its associated perturbations with liver fibrosis.
Methods. Using multivariable linear regression, we examined the demographic, behavioral, metabolic and viral factors associated with transient elastography–measured liver stiffness in 314 participants (165 HIV positive/hepatitis C virus [HCV] negative, 78 HIV positive/HCV positive, 14 HIV negative/HCV positive, 57 HIV negative/HCV negative) in the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
Results. Compared with HIV negative/HCV negative women, HIV positive/HCV positive women had higher median liver stiffness values (7.1 vs 4.4 kPa; P < .001); HIV positive/HCV negative and HIV negative/HCV negative women had similar liver stiffness values (both 4.4 kPa; P = .94). HIV/HCV coinfection remained associated with higher liver stiffness values (74% higher; 95% confidence interval [CI], 49–104) even after multivariable adjustment. Among HCV positive women, waist circumference (per 10-cm increase) was associated with 18% (95% CI, 7.5%–30%) higher liver stiffness values after multivariable adjustment; waist circumference showed little association among HIV positive/HCV negative or HIV negative/HCV negative women. Among HIV positive/HCV negative women, history of AIDS (13%; 95% CI, 4% –27%) and HIV RNA (7.3%; 95% CI, 1.59%–13.3%, per 10-fold increase) were associated with greater liver stiffness.
Conclusions. HCV infection but not HIV infection is associated with greater liver stiffness when infected women are compared with those with neither infection. Our finding that waist circumference, a marker of central obesity, is associated with greater liver stiffness in HIV/HCV-coinfected but not HIV-monoinfected or women with neither infection suggests that in the absence of HCV-associated liver injury the adverse effects of obesity are lessened.
PMCID: PMC3814832  PMID: 23901097
HIV; HCV; liver fibrosis; transient elastography; obesity; women
4.  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
5.  Differences Between Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic Patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis in the United States 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2007;46(3):769-775.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an uncommon chronic cholestatic liver disease that primarily afflicts young and middle-aged Caucasian women; there are limited data on the clinical presentation and disease severity among non-Caucasian patients with this disease. The goal of this study was to examine differences in the severity of liver disease between Caucasian and non-Caucasian patients with PBC screened for enrollment in a large national multicenter clinical trial. Demographic features, symptoms, physical findings, and laboratory tests obtained during screening were examined in 535 patients with PBC with respect to ethnicity, gender, and antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) status; 73 of 535 (13.6%) were non-Caucasian (21 were African American, and 42 were Hispanic). Non-Caucasians were more likely than Caucasians to be ineligible for participation in the clinical trial (46.5% versus 25.1%, P = 0.0001), primarily because of greater disease severity. African Americans and Hispanics were also more likely to have a lower activity level, more severe pruritus, and more advanced disease. However, the mean age, male-to-female ratio, and seroprevalence of AMA positivity were similar between the 2 groups.
Liver disease severity at clinical presentation is higher among non-Caucasians than Caucasians with PBC, and this cannot be explained by demographic or serologic features alone. Possible mechanisms underlying this health discrepancy are not clear, but increased awareness of PBC as a cause of chronic cholestatic liver disease is critical in evaluating non-Caucasian patients in the United States.
PMCID: PMC4167731  PMID: 17654740
6.  Viral Hepatitis in HIV Infection 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;356(14):1445-1454.
PMCID: PMC4144044  PMID: 17409326
7.  Role of αvβ6 Integrin in Acute Biliary Fibrosis 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2007;46(5):1404-1412.
Acute biliary obstruction leads to periductal myofibroblasts and fibrosis, the origin of which is uncertain. Our study provides new information on this question in mice and humans. We show that bile duct obstruction induces a striking increase in cholangiocyte αvβ6 integrin and that expression of this integrin is directly linked to fibrogenesis through activation of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β). Administration of blocking antibody to αvβ6 significantly reduces the extent of acute fibrosis after bile duct ligation. Moreover, in β6-null mice subjected to the injury, fibrosis is reduced by 50% relative to that seen in wild-type mice, whereas inflammation occurs to the same extent. The data indicate that αvβ6, rather than inflammation, is linked to fibrogenesis. It is known that αvβ6 binds latent TGF-β and that binding results in release of active TGFβ. Consistent with this, intracellular signaling from the TGFβ receptor is increased after bile duct ligation in wild-type mice but not in β6−/− mice, and a competitive inhibitor of the TGFβ receptor type II blocks fibrosis to the same extent as antibody to αvβ6. In a survey of human liver disease, expression of αvβ6 is increased in acute, but not chronic, biliary injury and is localized to cholangiocyte-like cells.
Cholangiocytes respond to acute bile duct obstruction with markedly increased expression of αvβ6 integrin, which is closely linked to periductal fibrogenesis. The findings provide a rationale for the use of inhibitors of αvβ6 integrin or TGFβ for down-regulating fibrosis in the setting of acute or ongoing biliary injury.
PMCID: PMC4144397  PMID: 17924447
9.  Randomized Controlled Study of Tenofovir and Adefovir in Chronic Hepatitis B Virus and HIV Infection: ACTG A5127 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2006;44(5):1110-1116.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in subjects coinfected with HIV. Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and adefovir dipivoxil (ADV) are licensed for the treatment of HIV-1 and HBV infection, respectively, but both have in vivo and in vitro activity against HBV. This study evaluated the anti-HBV activity of TDF compared to ADV in HIV/HBV-coinfected subjects. ACTG A5127 was a prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of daily 10 mg of ADV versus 300 mg of TDF in subjects with HBV and HIV coinfection on stable ART, with serum HBV DNA ≥ 100,000 copies/mL, and plasma HIV-1 RNA ≤ 10,000 copies/mL. This study closed early based on results of a prespecified interim review, as the primary noninferiority end point had been met without safety issues. Fifty-two subjects were randomized. At baseline, 73% of subjects had a plasma HIV-1 RNA < 50 copies/mL, 86% were HBeAg positive, 94% were 3TC resistant, median serum ALT was 52IU/L, and 98% had compensated liver disease. The mean time-weighted average change in serum HBV DNA from baseline to week 48 (DAVG48) was −4.44 log10 copies/mL for TDF and −3.21 log10 copies/mL for ADV. There was no difference in toxicity between the 2 treatment arms, with 11 subjects (5 ADV and 6 TDF) experiencing elevations of serum ALT on treatment. In conclusion, over 48 weeks, treatment with either ADV or TDF resulted in clinically important suppression of serum HBV DNA. Both drugs are safe and efficacious for patients coinfected with HBV and HIV.
PMCID: PMC4114764  PMID: 17058225
11.  Addition of Nitazoxanide to PEG-IFN and Ribavirin to Improve HCV Treatment Response in HIV-1 and HCV Genotype 1 Coinfected Persons Naïve to HCV Therapy: Results of the ACTG A5269 Trial 
HIV clinical trials  2013;14(6):274-283.
We hypothesized that nitazoxanide (NTZ) added to pegylated inter-feron alfa-2a (PEG-IFN) and weight-based ribavirin (WBR) would improve hepatitis C virus (HCV) virologic responses in HCV treatment-naïve HIV-1/HCV genotype 1 coin-fected persons.
Prospective, single-arm study in which subjects received 4-week lead-in (NTZ 500 mg twice daily) followed by 48 weeks of NTZ, PEG-IFN, and WBR. We compared the HCV virologic responses of these subjects to his­torical controls from the completed ACTG study A5178 who received PEG-IFN and WBR and had similar subject characteristics. Primary endpoints were early virologic response and complete early virologic response (EVR and cEVR).
Among 67 subjects (78% male; 48% Black; median age, 50 years), EVR was achieved in 65.7% (90% CI, 55.0%–75.3%), cEVR in 38.8% (28.8%–49.6%). and SVR in 32.8% (23.4%–43.5%). EVR was higher with NTZ (51.4% in A5178; P = .03), but the sustained virologic response (SVR) proportion was similar (27.3% in A5178; P = .24). In contrast to A5178, SVR was similar across IL28B genotypes. Overall, NTZ was safe and well-tolerated.
Whereas EVR proportion improved significantly in this pilot study, the addition of NTZ to PEG-IFN/WBR did not significantly improve SVR compared to historical controls. NTZ may be associated with an attenuation of the effect of IL28B on HCV treatment response.
PMCID: PMC4113390  PMID: 24334180
genotype 1; hepatitis C; HIV; nitazoxanide; pegylated interferon; ribavirin
12.  Peginterferon Alfa-2a plus Ribavirin versus Interferon Alfa-2a plus Ribavirin for Chronic Hepatitis C in HIV-Coinfected Persons 
The New England journal of medicine  2004;351(5):451-459.
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a cause of major complications in persons who are also infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, the treatment of HCV infection in such persons has been associated with a high rate of intolerance and a low rate of response. We conducted a multicenter, randomized trial comparing peginterferon plus ribavirin with interferon plus ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in persons coinfected with HIV.
A total of 66 subjects were randomly assigned to receive 180 μg of peginterferon alfa-2a weekly for 48 weeks, and 67 subjects were assigned to receive 6 million IU of interferon alfa-2a three times weekly for 12 weeks followed by 3 million IU three times weekly for 36 weeks. Both groups received ribavirin according to a dose-escalation schedule. At week 24, subjects who did not have a virologic response (those who had an HCV RNA level greater than or equal to 60 IU per milliliter) underwent liver biopsy, and medications were continued in subjects with either a virologic response or histologic improvement.
Treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin was associated with a significantly higher rate of sustained virologic response (an HCV RNA level of less than 60 IU per milliliter 24 weeks after completion of therapy) than was treatment with interferon and ribavirin (27 percent vs. 12 percent, P=0.03). In the group given peginterferon and ribavirin, only 14 percent of subjects with HCV genotype 1 infection had a sustained virologic response (7 of 51), as compared with 73 percent of subjects with an HCV genotype other than 1 (11 of 15, P<0.001). Histologic responses were observed in 35 percent of subjects with no virologic response who underwent liver biopsy.
In persons infected with HIV, the combination of peginterferon and ribavirin is superior to the combination of interferon and ribavirin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. These regimens may provide clinical benefit even in the absence of virologic clearance. The marked discrepancy in the rates of sustained virologic response between HCV genotypes indicates that strategies are needed to improve the outcome in persons infected with HCV genotype 1.
PMCID: PMC4113392  PMID: 15282352
13.  Effects of HCV Treatment on Cytokine Expression During HCV/HIV Coinfection 
There is growing evidence that cytokine expression is linked to hepatitis C virus (HCV) pathogenesis and treatment response rates among HCV-monoinfected persons. However, because of the profound effects of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection on HCV, it is not clear if these observations are also true for HCV/HIV-coinfected individuals. Serum expression of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and the fibrogenic cytokine transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) were measured in HCV/HIV-coinfected persons at baseline and at week 24 of HCV therapy. Higher levels of IL-8 and TGF-β were demonstrated among nonwhite subjects at baseline. Increases in TNF-α and IL-8 expression were found at week 24 of HCV therapy, suggesting that enhanced proinflammatory cytokine production may occur during HCV treatment. However, cytokine levels were not predictive of HCV virologic, biochemical, or histologic response. Although previous studies conducted among HCV-monoinfected individuals have suggested that cytokine levels could predict the virologic response to therapy, no such associations were observed among HCV/HIV-coinfected persons, suggesting that they may respond differently to treatment than do their HCV-monoinfected counterparts.
PMCID: PMC4113398  PMID: 17115902
14.  Novel Model of Antigen-Specific Induction of Bile Duct Injury 
Gastroenterology  2006;131(6):1899-1906.
Background & Aims
Biliary-directed inflammation is an important cause of acute and chronic liver disease. We developed and characterized a transgenic mouse model of immunemediated hepatobiliary injury.
Ovalbumin (OVA)-BIL mice were developed using 3.0 kilobase of the rat apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter promoter to drive aberrant expression of a membrane form of ovalbumin (OVA) on biliary epithelium. Liver inflammation resulted from adoptive transfer of OVA-specific T cells. Liver immune cells were characterized to determine the mechanism of the response by assessing activation, proliferation, and intracellular cytokine expression.
OVA-BIL transgenic mice were tolerant to OVA, without evidence of liver disease. Adoptive transfer of OVA-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells into naïve OVA-BIL mice led to biliary-centered necroinflammatory damage in a dose-dependent manner. This inflammation absolutely required CD8+ T cells and was augmented by CD4+ T cells. Adoptively transferred OVA CD8+ cells homed to and proliferated in the liver but not the spleen. These activated, adoptively transferred cytotoxic T lymphocytes produced elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor α and interferon γ.
T-cell recognition of antigen aberrantly expressed on bile duct epithelium induced an acute necroinflammatory response specific to the liver, with activation, proliferation, and cytokine production predominantly by the OVA-specific cytotoxic T cells. Thus, OVA BIL represents an antigen-specific animal model of inflammatory bile duct injury.
PMCID: PMC4113411  PMID: 17087941
15.  Hematologic Toxicity Assocated with Interferon-Based Hepatitis C Therapy in HIV Type 1-Coinfected Subjects 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC4075655  PMID: 17443478
16.  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.
PMCID: PMC4066618  PMID: 17477814
17.  De novo malignancies following liver transplantation: a case–control study with long-term follow-up 
Clinical transplantation  2006;20(5):617-623.
Long-term survival data on de novo malignancy are limited following orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) when compared with controls without malignancies.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC4050657  PMID: 16968488
de novo malignancies; orthotopic liver transplantation
18.  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.
PMCID: PMC4050662  PMID: 16184542
19.  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.
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.
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.
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
20.  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%).
PMCID: PMC4004074  PMID: 10347103
21.  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.
PMCID: PMC3935822  PMID: 10462363
22.  Prolonged Follow-Up of Patients in the U.S. Multicenter Trial of Ursodeoxycholic Acid for Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
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.
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.
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.
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
23.  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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3440547  PMID: 22618868
race; ethnicity; viral hepatitis; mortality; gender
24.  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
25.  Genome wide association study of spontaneous resolution of hepatitis C virus infection 
Annals of internal medicine  2013;158(4):235-245.
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.
To evaluate the host genetic basis for spontaneous resolution of HCV infection.
Two-stage genome wide association study (GWAS).
13 international multicenter study sites.
919 individuals with serum HCV antibodies but no HCV RNA (spontaneous resolution) and 1482 individuals with serum HCV antibodies and RNA (persistence).
Frequencies of 792,721 SNPs.
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).
Epigenetic effects were not studied.
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.
PMCID: PMC3638215  PMID: 23420232

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