Cryoglobulinemic neuropathy related to hepatitis C virus infection. Clinical, laboratory and neurophysiological study

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 1996;1(2):131-8.


Peripheral neuropathy is frequently reported in mixed cryoglobulinemia. As a close relationship has been established between mixed cryoglobulinemia and hepatitis C virus (HCV), the clinical, neurophysiological, and serologic findings of five patients affected by neuropathy, cryoglobulinemia and HCV infection were investigated. HCV infection was ascertained by the presence in the serum of anti-HCV antibodies detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay(ELISA), and of HCV RNA assessed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Initial symptoms included paresthesias and painful dysesthesias in the legs. Later on, the patients developed a mainly asymmetric axonal polyneuropathy or a multifocal neuropathy associated with signs of systemic vasculitis. In this case series we report the short-term prognosis, as well as the response to interferon (IFN) alpha and conventional treatment. The presence of HCV RNA supports the hypothesis that a persistent HCV infection might be involved in the pathogenesis of mixed cryoglobulinemia and cryoglobulinemia-associated disorders.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Cryoglobulinemia / complications
  • Cryoglobulinemia / virology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polyneuropathies / diagnosis
  • Polyneuropathies / etiology
  • Polyneuropathies / virology*
  • RNA, Viral / analysis


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-alpha
  • RNA, Viral