Immunological disorders in C virus chronic active hepatitis: a prospective case-control study

Hepatology. 1994 Apr;19(4):841-8.


Hepatitis C virus-related chronic hepatitis may be associated with various immunological disorders. The aim of this study was to determine prospectively the prevalence of the clinical, biochemical and pathological immunological abnormalities in a series of 61 consecutive patients with chronic hepatitis C, compared with those in 61 age- and sex-matched control subjects without markers of hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus infections and with those in 61 patients with chronic hepatitis B. The following investigations were systematically performed before any treatment: detection of serum cryoglobulinemia and rheumatoid factor, detection of a large variety of serum anti-tissue antibodies, biopsy of labial salivary glands, ophthalmological examination, dosage of thyroid-stimulating hormone and in vivo capillary microscopy. Cryoglobulinemia was found in 36% of the hepatitis C virus patients, four of whom had dermatological and/or neurological manifestations of vasculitis, and rheumatoid factor was present in 70%. Serum anti-tissue antibodies were detected in 41% of cases, mostly antinuclear and anti-smooth muscle antibodies. Liver-kidney microsomal and antithyroid antibodies were rare. Salivary gland lesions were found in 49% of the patients: all had lymphocytic capillaritis, sometimes associated with lymphocytic sialadenitis resembling that of Sjögren's syndrome, but without features of sicca syndrome and Ro/SSA antibodies. Five percent of the patients had lichen planus. The prevalences of cryoglobulinemia, rheumatoid factor and anti-tissue antibodies were significantly higher than those in the control group and patients with chronic hepatitis B.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cryoglobulinemia / complications
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / complications
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / complications
  • Hepatitis C / immunology*
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rheumatoid Factor / blood
  • Salivary Glands / pathology
  • Sialadenitis / complications


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies
  • Rheumatoid Factor