Iron, the HFE gene, and hepatitis C

Clin Liver Dis. 2004 Nov;8(4):775-85, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2004.06.006.


Intrahepatic iron overload is commonly seen in chronic hepatitis C infection. High levels of intrahepatic iron may lead to accelerated liver injury and development of fibrosis and cirrhosis. This is frequently seen in hereditary hemochromatosis, which in most of the cases is caused by homozygous mutations in the HFE gene. In patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C, the presence of heterozygous HFE mutations associates with higher hepatic iron scores and advanced stages of fibrosis. HFE mutations must therefore be considered as important comorbidity factors in chronic hepatitis C infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Hemochromatosis / genetics
  • Hemochromatosis Protein
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Iron / adverse effects*
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Risk Factors


  • HFE protein, human
  • Hemochromatosis Protein
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Iron