Hepatitis C virus infection and myositis: a polymerase chain reaction study

Acta Neuropathol. 2000 Mar;99(3):271-6. doi: 10.1007/pl00007437.


Muscle biopsy tissue from a patient with chronic hepatitis, who was hepatitis C virus (HCV) positive and showed slight weakness of the right arm and leg associated with increased serum creatine kinase levels, was studied using immunocytochemical and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. Muscle biopsy showed changes compatible with an inflammatory myopathy. Immunohistochemical studies included the use of monoclonal antibodies against human T lymphocytes, macrophages, immunoglobulins, major histocompatibility complex class I molecules (MHC-I), and the neoantigens of the terminal C5b-9 complement membrane attack complex (MAC). In addition to confirming the potential importance of cytotoxic T cells and MHC-I antigen expression in inducing muscle pathology, we demonstrated MAC deposition and the presence of HCV-RNA in the muscle of our patient, suggesting that direct involvement of the virus leading to complement activation might be important in inducing muscle damage.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Complement Membrane Attack Complex / analysis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Myositis / pathology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • Complement Membrane Attack Complex
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • RNA, Messenger