Chronic hepatitis C in children: a clinical and immunohistochemical comparative study with adult patients

Hepatology. 1998 Dec;28(6):1696-701. doi: 10.1002/hep.510280633.


Limited information is available regarding the characteristics of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in children. We compared the epidemiological background along with the virological and histological features as well as the intrahepatic immunologic phenotype of both children and adults with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Serum samples of 24 pediatric and 32 adult patients were drawn for alanine transaminase (ALT) levels, HCV-typing, and viral load. The histological diagnosis and a semiquantitative immunohistochemical assessment were performed in all patients. The majority of children (62%) had been transfused and the mean duration of viral infection in these cases was 11 +/- 4 years, being similar in adults (11 +/- 9 years, not significant). Although genotype distribution was similar, viral load was lower in children than in adults. The mildest histological forms of chronic hepatitis along with a weak intrahepatic immunological phenotype were significantly more frequent among children than adult patients. In conclusion, in children with CHC, perinatal blood transfusion was the most frequent source of viral infection and the liver disease was characterized by both low ALT level and viral load, as well as the mildest histological and immunohistochemical forms of chronic hepatitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / metabolism
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / analysis


  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1