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Z Gastroenterol. 1997 Oct;35(10):921-8.

Clinical, biochemical, and histological changes in hepatitis C virus infection-associated cryoglobulinemia.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Georg-August University, Göttingen.


The most common extrahepatic manifestation of HCV infection is mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC). 62 unselected patients with chronic HCV infection were prospectively evaluated for the presence of cryoglobulinemia and associated clinical and biochemical parameters. Furthermore, a putative relationship between the HCV genotypes and cryoglobulinemia was tested. Histological features typical for HCV infection were comparatively analyzed in cases with and without cryoglobulinemia. Whether an intrahepatic Th2-response is responsible for the strong antibody production causing cryoglobulinemia was also examined. Cryoglobulins were detected in sera of 30 patients (approximately equal to 48%). Patients with cryoglobulinemia were on the average elder, showed an apparent longer duration of infection, and suffered more frequently from arthralgia, accompanied by a significant increase of total serum IgM concentration and rheumatoid factor activity. The HCV genotype distribution among patients with cryoglobulinemia was not different from that found in patients without cryoglobulinemia. In cases with cryoglobulinemia, an increased activity of chronic hepatitis and a higher grade of liver fibrosis was noted. The prevalence of HCV-typical histological lesions among all patients were: Portal lymphocytic aggregates (40%), bile duct damage (35%), steatosis (47%), and intracellular acidophilic bodies (29%). A significant correlation, however, could not be found between cryoglobulinemia and the presence of HCV-typical histological lesions. An intrahepatic Th2-response causing an increased antibody production could not be observed in cases with cryoglobulinemia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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