1887

Abstract

Extra-hepatic compartments might contribute to hepatitis C virus (HCV) persistence and extra-hepatic manifestations. Therefore, we investigated HCV infection in colonic tissue in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and its relationship with HCV pathogenesis. Colonic biopsies were collected from three groups with CHC infection: treatment naïve (TN; n=12), non-responders (NR; n=10) to anti-HCV therapy (pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin) and sustained virologic response (SVR; n=10) and from a fourth healthy control group (n=10). Liver biopsies were examined to assess inflammation and fibrosis. HCV infection and colonic T regulatory (Treg) frequency were detected by immunohistochemistry. HCV core and NS3 proteins were detected in B cells and macrophage/monocytes of 42 % and 25 % of TN and 50 % and 30 % of NR, respectively, but not in SVR or control group. The numbers of cells expressing HCV proteins were positively correlated with both HCV viral load and colonic Treg frequency. A significant negative correlation between HCV-expressing cells with both liver inflammation and fibrosis was identified. Our study provides evidence that HCV can infect B cells and macrophages of the colon. The correlations between HCV infection in colonic tissue and HCV viral load and liver pathology underline the significance of this extra-hepatic infection in HCV pathogenesis and response to therapy.

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2016-08-01
2019-10-22
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