A team from St. Louis, Missouri, USA, investigated patients with both hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) and chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Both of these conditions can result in hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis.
The researchers assessed whether these conditions together result in patients presenting with hepatic fibrosis/cirrhosis at a younger age and at a lower hepatic iron concentration, compared to patients with HH or HCV alone.
In the study, 10 patients with combined HCV and HH were compared to 13 patients who had HH alone and 24 patients who had HCV alone.
All patients had advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis on liver biopsy.
All HH patients were homozygous for the C282Y mutation.
|Fibrosis in HH patients with HCV:|
- Occurs at younger age
- At lower hepatic iron level
| Journal of Hepatology |
At presentation with advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis, the mean age of the HH/HCV group was significantly lower than that of the HH group and the HCV group.
The authors also found that mean hepatic iron concentration was lower in the combined HH/HCV group, compared to that of the HH group.
Hari H. Diwakaran, of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said on behalf of the group, "HH patients with HCV present with advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis at a younger age, and at a lower hepatic iron concentration, compared to HH patients without HCV.
"These findings support the concept that the combination of HH-induced iron overload and HCV has a potentiating effect on hepatic fibrogenesis," it was concluded.