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PLoS One. 2019 Jun 27;14(6):e0218852. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218852. eCollection 2019.

Zinc deficiency and advanced liver fibrosis among HIV and hepatitis C co-infected anti-retroviral naïve persons with alcohol use in Russia.

Author information

1
Section of Infectious Diseases, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
2
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
3
Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
4
First Pavlov State Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia.
5
Smoridintsev Research Institute of Influenza, St. Petersburg, Russia.
6
Florida International University, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Miami, Florida, United States of America.
7
Hospital Universitari Germans Trias I Pujol, Badalona, Spain.
8
Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
9
V.M. Bekhterev National Medical Research Center for Psychiatry and Neurology, St. Petersburg, Russia.
10
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Liver disease in people living with HIV co-infected with hepatitis C virus is a source of morbidity and mortality in Russia. HIV accelerates liver fibrosis in the setting of HCV co-infection and alcohol use. Zinc deficiency is common among people living with HIV and may be a factor that facilitates the underlying mechanisms of liver fibrosis. We investigated the association between zinc deficiency and advanced liver fibrosis in a cohort of HIV/HCV co-infected persons reporting heavy drinking in Russia.

METHODS:

This is a secondary data analysis of baseline data from 204 anti-retroviral treatment naïve HIV/HCV co-infected Russians with heavy drinking that were recruited into a clinical trial of zinc supplementation. The primary outcome of interest in this cross-sectional study was advanced liver fibrosis. Zinc deficiency, the main independent variable, was defined as plasma zinc <0.75 mg/L. Exploratory analyses were performed examining continuous zinc levels and fibrosis scores. Analyses were conducted using multivariable regression models adjusted for potential confounders.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of advanced liver fibrosis was similar for those with zinc deficiency compared to those with normal zinc levels, (27.7% vs. 23.0%, respectively). We did not detect an association between zinc deficiency and advanced liver fibrosis in the adjusted regression model (aOR: 1.28, 95% CI: 0.62-2.61, p = 0.51) nor in exploratory analyses.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this cohort of Russians with HIV/HCV co-infection, who are anti-retroviral treatment naïve and have heavy alcohol use, we did not detect an association between zinc deficiency or zinc levels and advanced liver fibrosis.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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