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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1996 Sep;11(9):1792-6.

Relationships between plasma ferritin and aminotransferase profile in haemodialysis patients with hepatitis C virus.

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Servicio de Nefrología, Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Madrid, Spain.



HCV infection is a major complication among patients undergoing dialysis therapy throughout the world. In the years prior to the use of human recombinant erythropoietin (rHuEpo), patients undergoing haemodialysis were subjected to an excessive iron load as a consequence of frequent blood transfusions. Recent data in the non-dialysis population have shown a positive correlation between iron deposits and the severity of HCV hepatitis and between iron deposition and an impaired response to interferon therapy.


One hundred and five haemodialysis patients were studied. Every patient was screened for HCV infection by ELISA II and HCV RNA. Serum biochemistries were analysed by SMAC20. Ferritin was measured by radioimmunoassay.


The aminotransferase levels for the HCV positive (n = 39) and negative patients (n = 66) were below the normal levels for the general population. The mean values of aminotransferases and plasma ferritin were, however, higher in the HCV-positive patients than in the HCV-negative patients. A positive correlation between aminotransferases and plasma ferritin was evident in HCV-positive patients, which was absent in the HCV-negative individuals. The histological severity of liver disease (n = 7) was, however, not statistically related with the levels of either ferritin or aminotransferases.


HCV infection is a relevant variable when estimating iron deposits by measuring plasma ferritin. Accordingly, a misinterpretation of the actual amount of iron deposits may occur in HCV-positive patients, which should be taken into account at the time of planning their iron reposition therapy. On the other hand, the level of iron deposits might have a significant role in the evolution of HCV-related liver disease.

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