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HIV Med. 2016 Sep;17(8):581-9. doi: 10.1111/hiv.12357. Epub 2016 May 17.

Systemic inflammation and liver damage in HIV/hepatitis C virus coinfection.

Author information

Institute of Ecology and Genetics of Microorganisms UB RAS, Perm, Russia.
Perm State University, Perm, Russia.
Perm Regional Center for Protection against AIDS and Infectious Diseases, Perm, Russia.
Institute of Immunology and Physiology UB RAS, Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.
National Institute of Child Health and Development, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Vaccine Research Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.



Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV viral infections are characterized by systemic inflammation. Yet the relative levels, drivers and correlates of inflammation in these settings are not well defined.


Seventy-nine HIV-infected patients who had been receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for more than 2 years and who had suppressed plasma HIV levels (< 50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL) were included in the study. Two patient groups, HCV-positive/HIV-positive and HCV-negative/HIV-positive, and a control group comprised of healthy volunteers (n = 20) were examined. Markers of systemic inflammation [interleukin (IL)-6, interferon gamma-induced protein (IP)-10, soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor-I (sTNF-RI) and sTNF-RII], monocyte/macrophage activation [soluble CD163 (sCD163), soluble CD14 and neopterin], intestinal epithelial barrier loss [intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)] and coagulation (d-dimers) were analysed. CD4 naïve T cells and CD4 recent thymic emigrants (RTEs) were enumerated.


Plasma levels of IP-10, neopterin and sCD163 were higher in HCV/HIV coinfection than in HIV monoinfection and were positively correlated with indices of hepatic damage [aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and the AST to platelet ratio index (APRI)]. Levels of I-FABP were comparably increased in HIV monoinfection and HIV/HCV coinfection but LPS concentrations were highest in HCV/HIV coinfection, suggesting impaired hepatic clearance of LPS. Plasma HCV levels were not related to any inflammatory indices except sCD163. In coinfected subjects, a previously recognized relationship of CD4 naïve T-cell and RTE counts to hepatocellular injury was defined more mechanistically by an inverse relationship to sCD163.


Hepatocellular injury in HCV/HIV coinfection is linked to elevated levels of certain inflammatory cytokines and an apparent failure to clear systemically translocated microbial products. A related decrease in CD4 naïve T cells and RTEs also merits further exploration.


CD31; HIV infections; antigens; hepatitis C; highly active antiretroviral therapy; inflammation mediators

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