Relationship Between Iron Concentration and Hepatitis C Virus RNA Level in Liver Tissue : Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology

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Clinical Research

Relationship Between Iron Concentration and Hepatitis C Virus RNA Level in Liver Tissue

Cotler, Scott J. M.D.; Emond, Mary J. M.D.; Gretch, David R. M.D., Ph.D.; Wilson, Jeff J. B.S.; Lin, Masami B.S.; Bronner, Mary P. M.D.; Kowdley, Kris V. M.D.

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Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 29(4):p 322-326, December 1999.


Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection frequently have increased hepatic iron stores. The role of hepatitis C in hepatic iron deposition is unknown. The authors examined whether there is a relation between hepatitis C virus level in liver tissue and hepatic iron concentration. Forty-two paired samples obtained from the liver explants of five patients who underwent transplantation for liver disease due to hepatitis C were studied. Hepatitis C virus levels were measured at multiple sites within each liver by a branched deoxyribonucleic assay. Measurements of hepatic iron concentration were made at adjacent sites by a colorimetric assay. Random effects modeling showed wide intrahepatic variation in hepatic HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) concentration (variance = 1.2 × 104 [mEq/g]2) and hepatic iron concentration (variance = 1.3 × 106 [μg/g]2). There was, however, a trend toward an association between the mean HCV level and the mean hepatic iron concentration for each liver (r = 0.30, p = 0.05). In conclusion, HCV level and iron concentration varied within and between cirrhotic livers. Variability in intrahepatic iron concentration was not related to variability in intrahepatic HCV RNA concentration. More studies are needed to determine the cause of variability in hepatic iron and HCV RNA concentration within and between livers in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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