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J Viral Hepat. 2001 Jan;8(1):41-7.

Hepatic porphyrin concentration and uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase activity in hepatitis C virus infection.

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  • 1Département d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie, Hôpital Haut-Levêque, Pessac, France.


Previous studies have shown a high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients with porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). The aim of this study was to assess hepatic porphyrin concentrations (HPC) and hepatic uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD) activity in HCV-infected patients free of PCT. Thirty-two HCV-infected patients (20 M, 12 F, mean age 51 years) and seven control patients (4 M, 3 F, mean age 59 years) free of liver disease, were studied. Knodell's score was determined on liver biopsy by two independent anatomopathologists. Measurement of HPC and hepatic UROD activity levels were carried out on liver biopsy. Relative to controls, HCV-infected patients had high HPC levels (mean +/- SD: 47 +/- 20 vs. 17 +/- 6 pmol/mg protein, P < 0.001) and low hepatic UROD activity levels (514 +/- 95 vs. 619 +/- 125 pmol Copro/h/mg protein, P < 0.05). HPC was not correlated with hepatic UROD activity and the increase was due to coproporphyrin accumulation. No correlation was observed between HPC or hepatic UROD activity values and HCV-RNA concentrations, Knodell's score, hepatic fibrosis, periportal necrosis, periportal inflammation or hepatic iron content in HCV-infected patients. Hepatocellular necrosis was significantly correlated with HPC value (P < 0.005). Hence, in HCV-infected patients, HPC is significantly increased and hepatic UROD activity is very slightly decreased as compared to controls. HPC values and UROD activity are not correlated with HCV-RNA concentrations, hepatic iron content and hepatic fibrosis. The small increase in HPC values in hepatitis C infection is linked with hepatic injury and not with a direct effect on hepatic UROD enzyme.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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