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Liver Transpl. 2010 Apr;16(4):474-7. doi: 10.1002/lt.22014.

Treatment of chronic hepatitis E in liver transplant recipients with pegylated interferon alpha-2b.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology,University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections are known to run a self-limiting course. Recently, chronic hepatitis E has been described in immunosuppressed patients after solid-organ transplantation. Besides the general recommendation to lower the immunosuppressive medication in these patients, there is currently no specific treatment. We here describe the successful use of pegylated interferon alpha-2b in the treatment of 2 liver transplant recipients who suffered a chronic HEV infection for 9 years (case A) or 9 months (case B). After 4 weeks of therapy, a 2-log decrease (case A) and a 3-log decrease (case B) in the viral load were observed. In case A, who received treatment for 1 year, serum viral RNA became undetectable from week 20 onward, and serum liver enzymes normalized completely. In case B, interferon was discontinued at week 16 because of a lack of a further decline in the viral load. However, 4 weeks after the cessation of therapy, viral RNA was no longer detectable in the serum, and this was probably related to a further decline in the immunosuppressive medication. Liver tests normalized completely. In both cases, no relapse has been noted so far. We conclude that pegylated interferon alpha-2b may be useful in the treatment of chronic HEV infections in patients in whom the reduction of the immunosuppressive medication alone is not sufficient.

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