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Free Radic Biol Med. 1996;21(3):291-5.

Association between reactive oxygen species and disease activity in chronic hepatitis C.

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Liver Disease Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City 73104, USA.


Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) may be involved in the damage occurring in the course of chronic HCV infection. Individuals with chronic hepatitis C present increased hepatic levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced levels of glutathione. To determine whether these observations are associated with serological evidence for ROS injury, MDA and protein carbonyl content (PCC) of serum was determined in 20 HCV positive patients (14 chronic active hepatitis -- CAH and 6 cirrhosis) and 20 controls. Compared to controls, HCV positive subjects had increased levels of MDA (13.33 +/- 0.21 SE ng/ml vs. 9.90 +/- 0.65 P < .05) and PCC (4.74 +/- 0.21 mmol/mg vs 3.68 +/- 0.21, p < .02). Patients with CAH had higher levels than did cirrhotics. Both MDA and PCC correlated with serum ALT levels (r = .792 and r = .818 respectively, p < .001). A common origin for MDA and PCC found in patients with chronic hepatitis C was suggested by the correlation between the two measures (r = .741, p < .001). No correlation were found between MDA or PCC and the hepatic iron content. These data demonstrate that: (1) lipid and protein oxidation occur in chronic hepatitis C, (2) oxidative damage can be demonstrated as increased serum levels of MDA and PCC, and (3) both MDA and PCC levels correlate with disease activity.

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