, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 182-187

Correlation of Genotypes and Route of Transmission with Histologic Activity and Disease Stage in Chronic Hepatitis C

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Our objective was to evaluate the histopathological features of chronic hepatitis C of 64 liver biopsies and to correlate this with the route of transmission of hepatitis C virus, the genotype of HCV, and the patient's age. Moderate chronic hepatitis was the most frequently observed (62.5%). Cirrhosis was observed in 14 patients (21.9%) and was more frequently found among patients over 40 years of age (34.3% vs 6.9%, P = 0.025). The mean histopathological activity index (HAI) was significantly higher in the sporadic (10 ± 3.1) than the posttransfusional (7.5 ± 3.7) and the intravenous drug use (IVDU) groups (6.3 ± 2.8) (P < 0.02). Moreover the sporadic group showed more fibrosis (P < 0.04) than the posttransfusional group. No liver cirrhosis was found in the IVDU group. The overall prevalence of HCV variants was: 54.7% type 1b, 4.6% type 1a, 37.5% type 2c, 1.6% type 2b, 1.6% type 2. The genotype distribution showed no relation to the HAI, hepatitis activity (grade), and fibrosis (stage) of the liver disease. In conclusion, the sporadic route of transmission of HCV was related to a more severe chronic hepatic disease, a finding that could influence future antiviral therapies. The predominance of HCV type 1b in this study reflects the higher frequency of this variant in our area. Our data suggests that the ultimate consequence of HCV chronic infection depends on patient age rather than on HCV genotype.