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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2005 February;164(1):5-10


language: Italian

The extrahepatic manifestations of HCV infection

Rombolà f. 1, Bertuccio S. N. 1, Ranieri F. S. 1, Pellicanò S. 2

1 Struttura Complessa di Malattie Infettive e Malattie del Fegato, Ospedale Jazzolino, Vibo Valentia; 2 Unità Operativa di Malattie Infettive, Ospedale San Giovanni di Dio, Crotone


The latest reports in the literature regarding the extrahepatic manifestations of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have been reviewed. Hepatitis C presents a variety of characteristics and reference is made more and more frequently to HCV disease, which goes to underline the eminently systemic nature of a pathology that has major multivisceral implications. HCV lymphotropism, which is capable of locating and reproducing itself in B lymphocytes explains most of these manifestations, which are prevalently, even though not exclusively, of lymphoproliferative and/or auto-immune type. Some of the manifestations, such as mixed cryoglobulinaemia, which represents the most frequent and the best documented sign, non-Hodgkin’s B cell lymphomas and cryoglobulinaemic glomerulonephritis are distinct entities and are considered to be certainly connected to HCV infection. In other cases, such as porphyria cutanea tarda, lichen planus, diabetes mellitus, Sjogren’s syndrome and non-cryoglobulinaemic nephropathies it is considered highly probable that they are connected. All the other diseases, even if they are very frequently described in patients suffering from HCV, require further study before it is possible to definitively confirm their real nature as extrahepatic viral manifestations, or before the connection can be excluded, and the finger pointed at only a chance relationship. However, when we find ourselves faced with a pathological sign of a lymphoproliferative or autoimmune nature, it would be advisable to look for anti-HCV antibodies, not least because of their important therapeutic repercussions.

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