Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 May;13(5):495-500.

Chronic hepatitis C with normal or abnormal aminotransferase levels: is it the same entity?

Author information

  • 1Digestive Tract Research Group, Rouen University Hospital, France. sophko@hotmail.com



The features of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with persistently normal serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity levels are not well defined. This study evaluated the characteristics of HCV infection according to the presence or absence of elevated ALT.


Demographic data, liver histology and HCV genotype were studied in a group of 80 HCV-RNA-positive subjects with persistently normal ALT (PNALT) (group 1), and compared with a second group of 455 HCV-RNA-positive patients with elevated ALT (group 2). The annual progression of liver fibrosis was also calculated.


A higher proportion of women was found in group 1:64% vs 42% in group 2 (P< 0.0002). The HCV genotype 1 was less frequent in group 1:49% vs 60% in group 2 and genotype 2 was more frequent: 16% in group 1 vs 4% in group 2 (P< 0.002). Cirrhosis was less frequent in group 1 (4% vs 13% in group 2 (P< 0.0001)). Normal liver was more frequent in group 1:9% vs 1% in group 2 (P< 0.0001). The Knodell score was significantly different between the two groups: 3.2 +/- 0.27 vs 7.15 +/- 0.22 (P< 0.0001). The progression of liver fibrosis was lower in group 1: 0.053 +/- 0.14 units/year vs 0.13 +/- 0.24 in group 2 (P < 0.007).


HCV infection with PNALT is associated with less severe histological liver disease and a lower fibrosis progression rate. This suggests that the natural history of HCV infection in these patients is different from that in patients with abnormal ALT.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk