Background: The role of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), an angiogenic factor, in chronic viral hepatitis is unclear. In the present study we investigated TP expression in chronic viral hepatitis due to hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Methodology: Fifty-eight patients suffering from chronic viral hepatitis and 13 cirrhotic patients due to either HBV or HCV were studied. TP expression was investigated using a standard immunohistochemical technique and the specific antibody P-GF.44C.
Results: The pattern of TP staining was predominantly nuclear, or mixed nuclear/cytoplasmic, but no significant difference in such expression was noted between chronic hepatitis B and C: nuclear immunostaining, t=0.0616, p=0.9511; cytoplasmic immunostaining, t=0.5188, p=0.6060. There was, however, a marked difference in TP expression between patients with chronic hepatitis B/C and cirrhosis. Notably, this finding applied to both nuclear (p=0.00754, p=0.0143, respectively) and cytoplasmic (p=0.000091, p=0.000031, respectively) expression.
Conclusion: These observations indicate that TP expression, although linked to liver cirrhosis, may not be virus-related.