Background & aims: An association between hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection and cryoglobulinemia has been suggested. The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of cryoglobulinemia during HEV infection in solid-organ-transplant (SOT) recipients, to describe its outcomes under ribavirin therapy and to evaluate its effects on kidney function and histology.
Methods: Between November 2005 and June 2016, 128 cases of HEV infection were diagnosed among SOT recipients followed in our institution. Cryoglobulinemia data obtained from 66 patients during acute-phase HEV and 51 patients during chronic-phase HEV were compared to a historical control group of 89 SOT recipients without HEV markers. Cryoglobulins were also monitored in a group of 43 patients treated by ribavirin.
Results: The prevalence of cryoglobulinemia was increased in HEV-infected SOT patients during a chronic phase (52.9%) compared to HEV-infected SOT patients at acute phase (36.4%) (P = .1) and to HEV-negative SOT patients (23.6%) (P < .001). HEV infection was identified as an independent predictive factor for cryoglobulinemia (OR 2.3, CI 95%: 1.17-4.55, P = .02). After ribavirin therapy and HEV clearance, the prevalence of cryoglobulin was significantly decreased from 53.5% to 20.9% (P = .003). Kidney function was significantly worse and proteinuria tended to be higher in chronically HEV-infected patients with cryoglobulinemia compared to those without cryoglobulinemia. Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis was diagnosed in 2 patients, of which 1 had detectable cryoglobulinemia.
Conclusions: In conclusion, a relationship between HEV and cryoglobulin formation seems to exist. However, the clinical impact of cryoglobulinemia in SOT patients infected with HEV has to be confirmed.
Keywords: cryoglobulinemia; hepatitis E virus; ribavirin therapy; transplantation.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.