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Liver. 1997 Jun;17(3):133-8.

Virological characterization and liver histology in HCV positive subjects with normal and elevated ALT levels.

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  • 1Third Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital of Brescia, Italy.


We analyzed HCV genotype and RNA titer in 36 chronically infected subjects, 20 with persistently normal or near-normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity and 16 with raised ALT activity. All subjects underwent liver biopsy and evaluation of the histological activity index (HAI) by both Knodell's and Ishak's scoring systems. Genotype 2 was detected in most subjects with normal ALT activity, whereas genotype 1 was more frequent among subjects with raised ALT activity. HCV-RNA titer was higher in subjects with increased ALT. Histological evidence of chronic hepatitis was documented in all cases, but higher scores for grading and for staging were associated with increased ALT activity. HCV genotype had no statistical relationship with RNA titer or with liver histology. In logistic regression analysis, viral genotype, RNA titer or with liver histological scores for grading and staging were correlated independently with the ALT profile. The evidence of chronic hepatitis in all subjects with persistently normal ALT activity suggests that healthy HCV carriage is a rare event.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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