We tested for infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 58 patients affected by humoral immunodeficiencies: 43 common variable immunodeficiency (CVI), two hyper IgM syndrome (HIM), two IgG subclass deficiency, four ataxia-telangiectasia (AT), and seven X-linked agammaglobulinaemia (XLA). While the assessment of serum specific HCV antibodies in some of these patients was not informative because of the impairment in specific antibody production, the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay used to detect serum HCV RNA was a useful method for diagnosing infection. We found that 38% oflate onset hypogammaglobulinaemic patients (CVI, HIM or IgG subclass deficiency) had evidence of HCV infection. HCV infection was not detectable in patients with XLA or AT. The majority of our patients had persistent viraemia, and those who underwent liver biopsy showed histological findings of chronic hepatitis. Moreover, we could demonstrate in vitro that eight of 18 HCV-infected patients were actively producing anti-HCV antibodies, despite their impaired antibody production. The high rate of HCV infection in hypogammaglobulinaemic patients could be related to several nosocomial routes of transmission, including intravenous immune globulin administration. Despite the persistent viremia only two patients had cirrhosis and none had hepatocarcinoma.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Clinical and Experimental Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|
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