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      Epidemiology and Natural History of Hepatitis G Virus Infection in Chronic Hemodialysis Patients

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          Abstract

          Patients on chronic hemodialysis (HD) have recently been identified as having a high prevalence of hepatitis G virus (HGV) infection. The clinical significance of HGV in this population remains unclear, with no data available as to the acquisition and natural history of HGV infection in this group. Aims: To assess the prevalence and risk factors of HGV in a large cohort of chronic HD patients, and to evaluate the incidence and clinical consequences of HGV over time in this population. Methods: Paired sera from 292 patients undergoing chronic HD treatment in four units in the Los Angeles area were tested for HGV RNA before and after they had been on HD for a mean period of 9.7 ± 1.9 months. HGV was tested by a single-step RT-PCR using two couples of primers located in two different portions (5′UTR, NS5a) of the genome. The amplified products were detected by hybridization with 5′ biotin-labeled probes specific for each region. Results: At study entry there were 50 HGV RNA-positive patients, thus the HGV prevalence was 17% (50/292). The multivariate analysis by ordinal logistic regression model showed association (p = 0.0013) between HGV RNA and the location of patients among the HD units. No other significant associations were observed. Three (3/50 = 6%) HGV RNA-positive patients at study entry and 3 (3/41 = 7%) at the end of the follow-up showed a mild increase of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity in absence of other apparent causes of liver damage. 35 (70%) out of 50 HGV viremic patients had persistently detectable viremia during the study period; 15 (30%) had non-persistently detectable HGV RNA in the second serum specimen. There was no significant difference between the patients with persistently detectable HGV RNA and those who showed non-persistently detectable HGV viremia with regard to demographic, clinical or virological features. Six patients without detectable HGV viremia at the start of the study showed de novo HGV infection during the follow-up, thus the HGV incidence was 3.07% per year. These individuals did not simultaneously acquire HBV or HCV markers; de novo HGV infection was not associated with other demographic, clinical or virological features. One (16.7%) out of 6 individuals with HGV acquisition had persistently raised ALT levels and chronic HBsAg positivity. The prevalence of HGV was 14% (41/292) at the end of the observation period. Conclusions: The prevalence of HGV in our HD population was high; HGV positivity was strongly associated with the location of HD patients among the units; some HD individuals with current HGV infection showed biochemical signs of liver disease without other apparent causes. De novo acquisition of HGV occurred within HD units in the absence of evident parenteral risk factors for HGV other than their presence in the HD environment. A large portion of HGV viremic patients showed non-persistently detectable HGV viremia during the study. Acquisition of HGV was not associated with a rise in ALT activity unlike prior experience with de novo HCV in HD patients. Further investigations are warranted to explain the modes of HGV acquisition and the clinical significance of HGV in th HD population.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Infection with hepatitis GB virus C in patients on maintenance hemodialysis.

          A recently discovered non-A-E hepatitis virus has been designated hepatitis GB virus C (HGBV-C), but little is known about its mode of transmission and its clinical manifestations. We studied 519 patients on maintenance hemodialysis to determine whether they were infected with HGBV-C. HGBV-C RNA was identified in serum by a reverse-transcription-polymerase-chain-reaction assay with nested primers deduced from a non-structural region. A nucleotide sequence of 100 bp in the nonstructural region was determined on HGBV-C clones. HGBV-C RNA was detected on 3.1 percent of the patients on hemodialysis (16 of 519), as compared with 0.9 percent of healthy blood donors (4 of 448, P<0.03). None of the 16 patients had evidence of active liver disease, although 7 were also infected with hepatitis C virus. Eight patients with HGBV-C infection were followed for 7 to 16 years. In two patients the virus was present at the start of hemodialysis. One had a history of transfusion, and HGBV-C persisted over a period of 16 years; the other became free of HGBV-C after 10 years. In five patients, HGBV-C RNA was first detected 3 to 20 weeks after blood transfusion and persisted for up to 13 years. One patient with no history of transfusion was infected with an HGBV-C variant with the same sequence as in two of the patients with post-transfusion HGBV-C infections. Patients on maintenance hemodialysis are at increased risk for HGBV-C infection. This virus produces persistent infections, which may be transmitted by transfusions but may also be transmitted by other means.
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            Detection of antibodies to a putative hepatitis G virus envelope protein

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              Hepatitis GB Virus C in Patients on Hemodialysis

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                AJN
                Am J Nephrol
                10.1159/issn.0250-8095
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                0250-8095
                1421-9670
                1999
                October 1999
                26 November 1999
                : 19
                : 5
                : 535-540
                Affiliations
                aDepartment of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, bNational Genetics Institute, Los Angeles, Calif., USA and cNephrology and Dialysis Division, Hospital, Lecco, Italy
                Article
                13515 Am J Nephrol 1999;19:535–540
                10.1159/000013515
                10575179
                © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Tables: 3, References: 37, Pages: 6
                Product
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/13515
                Categories
                Clinical Study

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