Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Case-Control Study

AUTHORS

Karim Mowla 1 , Eskandar Hajiani 2 , *

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Golestan Hospital, Ahwaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Iran

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Golestan Hospital, Ahwaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, [email protected], Iran

How to Cite: Mowla K, Hajiani E. Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Case-Control Study, Hepat Mon. Online ahead of Print ; 8(1):41-44.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Hepatitis Monthly: 8 (1); 41-44
Article Type: Research Article
Received: January 23, 2008
Accepted: March 15, 2008

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Abstract

Background and Aims: Viruses might be one of the causes that trigger systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Steroid therapy may influence the natural history of virus infections. Reports on the association between SLE and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are scarce. We conducted a study to investigate the prevalence and clinical significance of HCV infection in patients with SLE.
Methods:  In a prospective study (2003-2005) we evaluated the prevalence and clinical significance of chronic HCV infection in patients who met the diagnostic criteria of the American College of Rheumatology for SLE. The blood samples of 124 patients were tested for HCV antibodies by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Anti-HCV reactive samples were retested for confirmation by Abbott MATRIX Immunoblot assays and also for HCV-RNA detection by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The control group consisted of first time blood donors referred to the regional blood transfusion organization.
Results: Six of 124 (4.8%) patients were seropositive for anti-HCV by ELISA; of these only 3 cases (2.4%) were positive by PCR. Both ELISA and the Immunoblot assays may be falsely positive for ongoing HCV infection in patients with SLE. A 2.4% prevalence of active HCV infection was found in patients with SLE, which did not differ significantly from the prevalence of HCV in the general population (less than 1%). In the few positive cases, we observed no adverse influence of this infection on the clinical features of the systemic lupus erythematosus.
Conclusions: Our results do not support the participation of HCV infection in the pathogenesis of SLE.

Keywords

Hepatitis C Virus Autoimmunity Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

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