Analysis of histopathological manifestations of chronic hepatitis C virus infection with respect to virus genotype

Hepatology. 1997 Mar;25(3):735-9. doi: 10.1002/hep.510250340.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes acute and often chronic hepatitis. On the basis of variations in nucleotide sequence, at least six genotypes and several subtypes have been identified. Histopathologically, chronic HCV infection is characterized by relatively mild hepatic inflammatory activity and a low degree of fibrosis, but hepatic lesions might be accompanied by bile duct damage, intraportal lymphoid aggregates, steatosis, or a combination of these manifestations. The histopathological lesions thus appear quite heterogeneous. To address the question of whether distinct histopathological manifestations are related to particular genotypes of HCV, 90 patients with chronic HCV infection were analyzed regarding histopathological features, biochemical liver parameters, demographic data, and virus genotype. The results revealed a significantly higher prevalence of both steatosis and bile duct lesions among patients infected by HCV type 3a compared to patients infected by types 1a or 1b. Furthermore, the data suggest interrelationships between virus genotype, patient's age, and a history of intravenous drug abuse. However, none of the histopathological manifestations were found to be related to a history of drug abuse. The data further corroborate the relationship of HCV type 1b infection to age, duration of disease, and the degree of fibrosis, respectively. Irrespective of HCV genotype, elevated serum ALT activity was shown to be associated with pronounced inflammatory activity or pronounced steatosis as well. Thus, the current data support the hypothesis that distinct genotypes of HCV appear to be associated with distinct manifestations of disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood*
  • Fatty Liver / enzymology
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / virology
  • Female
  • Genotype*
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C / enzymology
  • Hepatitis C / pathology*
  • Hepatitis C / virology*
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / enzymology
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / pathology*
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / virology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Alanine Transaminase