Accelerated Liver Disease Progression in HIV-HCV Coinfected Patients May Be Due to Increased Liver Inflammation

Although results have not been not entirely consistent, several studies have shown that HIV-HCV coinfected patients tend to experience more rapid liver disease progression than HIV negative people with hepatitis C alone. A study reported in the January 11, 2008 issue of AIDS suggests a possible mechanism underlying accelerated liver disease progression in coinfected individuals.


As background, the authors noted that, "This accelerated pathogenesis is probably influenced by differences in the composition of infiltrating inflammatory cells and the local release of inflammatory and profibrogenic cytokines."

To assess this hypothesis, the investigators used quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays to measure intrahepatic (within the liver) messenger RNA levels of cytokines and cellular markers defining distinct subsets of inflammatory cells in liver biopsies from 33 HCV monoinfected and 40 HIV-HCV coinfected patients.


Based on these findings, the authors wrote, "The accelerated liver disease observed in HIV-HCV coinfected patients might reflect enhanced intrahepatic inflammatory responses rather than increased local transcription of directly profibrogenic cytokines."



T Kuntzen, C Tural, B Li, and others. Intrahepatic mRNA expression in hepatitis C virus and HIV/hepatitis C virus co-infection: infiltrating cells, cytokines, and influence of HAART. AIDS 22(2):203-10. January 11, 2008.