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A case series evaluating the impact of Hepatitis C eradication using direct acting antivirals on primary biliary cholangitis-associated autoimmunity

  • Nguyen, Henry H.1
  • Khathlan, Abdullah1
  • Fritzler, Marvin J.2
  • Swain, Mark G.1, 3
  • 1 University of Calgary Liver Unit, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Calgary, Canada , Calgary (Canada)
  • 2 University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada , Calgary (Canada)
  • 3 Teaching Research & Wellness Centre, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 4N1, Canada , Calgary (Canada)
Published Article
BMC Gastroenterology
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jun 25, 2018
DOI: 10.1186/s12876-018-0826-7
Springer Nature


BackgroundChronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection has been commonly linked to the development of autoimmunity, in part through activation of B cells. B cells are also postulated to play a pathogenic role in the autoimmune liver disease Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC). Patients with concurrent PBC and HCV infection carry an increased risk of more progressive disease, although the mechanism underlying this effect is poorly understood. Utilizing a case series of patients with concurrent PBC and HCV, the aim of this study was to evaluate for the potential impact of HCV eradication upon autoimmunity/autoantibody production.Case presentationA case series evaluating three patients with co-existing PBC-HCV infection receiving non-interferon based HCV treatments with direct-acting antivirals (DAA). One of three patient received Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA; 13 mg/kg/day) during the treatment period. Sustained virological response (SVR) to DAA’s was assessed using a HCV Quantitative Nucleic Acid Test (Abbott). Autoantibodies associated with autoimmune liver diseases (including PBC) and liver biochemistry, were measured before, during and after DAA treatment (Mitogen Advanced Diagnostics Laboratory, Calgary, Canada).All patients achieved an SVR, as determined by negative HCV RNA test 12 weeks post-DAA therapy. Titres of anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMA-M2), anti- branched-chain 2-oxo-acid dehydrogenase complex and 2-oxo glutarate dehydrogenase complex (anti-3E-BPO), and anti- tripartite motif-containing protein 21 (TRIM21/Ro52) remained unchanged, despite successful HCV eradication. Two of the three patients exhibited a transient decrease in some autoantibody titres during DAA treatment, but these returned to baseline levels post-DAA therapy.ConclusionsWithin the limitations of a case series, our results suggest that HCV co-infection may not be a significant driver of PBC-related autoimmunity/autoantibody production. However, a larger n-value is required to truly assess for the effect of HCV eradication on autoantibody production.

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