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Gastroenterology. 1993 Jan;104(1):272-7.

Cryoglobulinemia with vasculitis associated with hepatitis C virus infection.

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Service d'Hépatologie and INSERM U 24, Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France.


Essential mixed cryoglobulinemia is frequently associated with chronic hepatitis. This report presents four cases of cryoglobulinemia with vasculitis associated with chronic hepatitis related to hepatitis C virus infection. Hepatitis C virus infection was ascertained in the four patients by both the presence in the serum of anti-HCV antibodies detected by the four-antigen recombinant immunoblot assay and of HCV RNA detected by polymerase chain reaction. In two patients tested, anti-HCV antibodies were not detected after centrifugation in the purified cryoglobulin but were detected in the supernatant. HCV RNA was detected in the purified cryoglobulin in all four patients and was detected in the supernatant in three patients. In one patient receiving recombinant interferon alfa, serum aminotransferases normalized and cryoglobulin disappeared; in another patient receiving recombinant interferon alfa, serum aminotransferases remained high and the cryoglobulin persisted. The presence of HCV RNA in the cryoglobulin and the parallelism of the changes of the cryoglobulinemia and of the serum aminotransferases during recombinant interferon alfa administration suggest that HCV infection is responsible for the production of cryoglobulinemia and vasculitis. It is proposed that HCV infection is a cause of cryoglobulinemia associated with chronic hepatitis.

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