Hepatitis C has become one of the major epidemics afflicting young people in both the developed and developing countries in the late 20th century. This peculiar infection has been associated with many extrahepatic manifestations, including renal glomerular and autoimmune diseases. The most common endocrine disorder, especially after treatment with interferon-α (IFN-α)-based therapy, is autoimmune thyroid disease. Although the pathophysiology of this condition is generally understood to be related to the immunomodulating properties of the hepatitis C virus particles, accentuated by exogenous IFN-α when treated, not every patient undergoing treatment encounters autoimmune thyroid disease, indicating there are other factors at play. This is particularly applicable to primary hypothyroidism. A surveillance program for thyroid diseases is proposed for patients undergoing IFN-α-based treatment.
Director of Clinical Chemistry and Associate Professor, Hunter Area Pathology Service, John Hunter Hospital and Newcastle University, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
Dr. Tran has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with or financial interests in any commercial company that pertains to this educational activity.
Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute, Inc. has identified and resolved all faculty conflicts of interest regarding this educational activity.
Reprints: Huy A. Tran, MD, FRCPA, FACE, FRACP, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Hunter Area Pathology Service, John Hunter Hospital and Newcastle University, Locked Bag Number 1, Hunter Mail Region Centre, Newcastle, New South Wales 2310, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com.
Chief Editor's Note: This article is the 24th of 36 that will be published in 2007 for which a total of up to 36 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ can be earned. Instructions for how credits can be earned precede the CME Examination at the back of this issue.