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Am J Transplant. 2003 Mar;3(3):357-60.

Pretransplant interferon prevents hepatitis C virus-associated glomerulonephritis in renal allografts by HCV-RNA clearance.

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Nephrology Department, Hospital de Bellvitge, Department of Medicine, University of Barcelona, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of pretransplant interferon administration on the occurrence of post-transplant de novo glomerulonephritis in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive renal allografts. From December 1992 to December 2000, 78 HCV-positive patients received a renal allograft in our unit. Fifteen out of 78 received pretransplant interferon for 1 year. Hepatitis C virus was investigated by serology and qualitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Hepatitis C virus-related de novo glomerulonephritis (membranoproliferative or membranous) was suggested by proteinuria (>1.5 g/24 h) and/or microhematuria and always diagnosed by renal biopsy. Of 15 HCV-positive recipients who received pretransplant interferon, 10 (67%) became HCV-RNA negative at the time of transplantation and only one out of the 15 (6.7%) developed de novo glomerulonephritis (this patient was HCV-RNA positive at transplantation). Among non-interferon-treated allograft recipients, 28.7% had negative HCV-RNA and 12 out of 63 (19%) developed de novo glomerulonephritis (9, membranoproliferative; 3 membranous), all 12 having positive HCV-RNA at transplantation (p < 0.0001). In conclusion, pretransplant interferon may reduce the occurrence of post-transplant HCV-related de novo glomerulonephritis. Our results suggest that the indication for pretransplant interferon should be extended to treat all HCV-RNA positive candidates for renal transplantation.

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