Arq Gastroenterol. 2022 Jan-Mar;59(1):58-64. doi: 10.1590/S0004-2803.202200001-11.


Background: Viral hepatitis C is a significant public health challenge. The disease may remain clinically silent in both acute and chronic forms, and chronic infections may progress to advanced disease such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, requiring costly treatment, compromising the patient's quality of life and even leading to death. For this reason, it is one of the most frequent indications for liver transplantation. Although treatment with direct-acting antivirals represents remarkable progress, many patients are still infected and even those who cleared the viral infection must be followed due to their previous hepatic lesions, especially regarding the disturbances of lobular architecture and the sanguineal and lymphatic vessels.

Objective: To assess immunohistochemical aspects of lymphatic sprouts and mature lymphatic vascularity with histological variables of liver injury attributable to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and fatty disease.

Methods: The present study included 72 liver biopsies of cases with chronic hepatitis C. Morphologic changes reflecting "staging" and "activity" were analyzed. Immunohistochemical reactions were performed with monoclonal antibody D2-40 anti-podoplanin. Major histological variables were also semiquantified so as to enable the search for possible associations among histological and Immunohistochemical criteria, as well as with genotypes 1 and 3 of HCV.

Results: Histological findings showed that the different degrees of strutural changes were well represented in this casuistic. Intralobular/parenchymal necro-inflammatory activity was predominantly mild to moderate. Most cases did not show major evidences of fatty disease, which was found significantly higher in cases infected with HCV genotype 3. The amount of portal lymphatic sprouts increased along with the progression of structural changes, maximal at cirrhosis. Portal lymphatic sprouts as well as portal mature lymphatic vessels also showed an increase parallel to the increase in the degree of portal/septal inflammatory infiltrate. In the present study, no significant association was found between the proportion of portal lymphatic sprouts or portal mature lymphatic vessels and the degree of periportal/periseptal activity. No significant relations were detected between lymphatic sprouts/mature vessels and periportal or parenchymal inflammatory activity, nor with infections due to HCV genotype 1 or 3.

Conclusion: Visualization and semiquantitation of sprouts and mature lymphatic vessels were clearly yielded by Immunohistochemical staining with monoclonal antibody D2-40. The amount of lymphatics was increased along fibrogenic process, significantly related to progression of liver disease and maximal at cirrhosis. No significant relations were detected with necro-inflammatory activity at interface or in the parenchyma.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis C* / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Lymphatic Vessels* / pathology
  • Quality of Life


  • Antiviral Agents