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Med Klin (Munich). 2006 May 15;101(5):378-83.

[Virus persistence in hepatitis C: lifelong infection despite therapy?].

[Article in German]

Author information

1
Medizinische Klinik, St. Marien-Hospital Hamm, Hamm. gockelh@gmx.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Chronic hepatitis C infection still represents a clinical and scientific challenge. Exciting progress has been achieved by the use of combined therapy regimens with pegylated interferon and ribavirin resulting in sustained virological response rates of 60-80%, depending on the genotype.

VIRUS PERSISTENCE DESPITE SUCCESSFUL THERAPY:

Despite favorable longterm data with regard to viremia, liver histology and serum liver enzymes in treated patients who comply with the criteria of sustained virological response, a complete elimination of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is rarely observed. Besides liver tissue, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) could be proven as locations of HCV persistence. It is assumed that there are further extrahepatic compartments in the host organism in which virus particles capable of replication remain, in spite of a seemingly successful therapy.

OCCULT HEPATITIS C:

The problem of the existence of small amounts of potentially replicative viruses becomes apparent even in occult hepatitis C, a constellation in which anti-HCV antibodies are missing, but HCV RNA in liver tissue and mostly also in PBMCs exist.

CONCLUSION:

The precise significance of the HCV persistence in the host organism is still inconclusive; according to first research results, however, it can lead to a deterioration of the liver histology. At present, it is also unclear if patients with occult hepatitis C as well as with evidence of HCV RNA in the liver and/or extrahepatic compartments after seemingly successful antiviral treatment are to be regarded as infectious.

PMID:
16685484
DOI:
10.1007/s00063-006-1049-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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