Hyaluronic acid, transforming growth factor-beta1 and hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus co-infection

A Sanvisens, I Serra, C Tural, J Tor, I Ojanguren, E Barluenga, C Rey-Joly, B Clotet, R Muga
Journal of Viral Hepatitis 2009, 16 (7): 513-8
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection follows an accelerated course in patients co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); establishing the extent of liver fibrosis is crucial for disease staging and determining treatment strategy in these patients. The utility of noninvasive markers of fibrosis as alternatives to liver biopsy has not been well-studied in these patients. We evaluated the predictive value of serum transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and hyaluronic acid (HA) levels for determining the extent of liver fibrosis. Liver biopsies and blood samples were collected from 69 consecutive patients (74% male; median age, 41 years) between May 2005 and November 2006. Serum TGF-beta1 and HA were analysed using commercial kits. Aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase levels were elevated in 81%, 70% and 60% of patients, respectively. Fifty-three patients (90%) were on highly active antiretroviral therapy and the median CD4-positive cell count was 422 cells/microL. The extent of fibrosis according to Scheuer's scoring was 32% F0 (no fibrosis), 16.5% F1, 16.5% F2, 26% F3 and 7% F4 (cirrhosis). Mean serum TGF-beta1 was 36.1 +/- 14.4 ng/mL; mean serum HA was 75.2 +/- 85.0 microg/L. Serum HA was positively associated and significantly correlated with the stage of fibrosis (r = 0.56; P < 0.05). The area under the curve for discriminating mild (F0-F2) from significant (F3-F4) fibrosis in receiver operating analysis using HA was 0.83 (sensitivity, 87%; specificity, 70%). These data suggest that HA is clinically useful for predicting liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in patients co-infected with HCV/HIV. However, serum TGF-beta1 was not predictive of histological damage in co-infected individuals treated with HAART.

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