Background: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is closely tied to the lipid metabolism of liver cells. We recently reported that serum levels of LDL- and VLDL-cholesterol (Cho) increased in patients with Chronic Hepatitis C (CHC) showing Sustained Virologic Response (SVR) after treatment with interferon (IFN)-based therapy. LDL- and VLDLCho contained apolipoprotein (apo)-B synthesized in the liver as a major protein component. The goal of the present study was to clarify how serum lipid markers change in CHC patients showing SVR after treatment with IFN-based therapy.
Patients and methods: The study included 121 consecutive patients with CHC infected with HCV genotype 1 (n=66, male/female: 40/26) or HCV genotype 2 (n=55, male/female: 38/17). Ninety-five patients received PEGIFN alpha and Ribavirin (RBV). Twenty-six patients received PEG-IFN alpha-2a alone. SVR was defined as being negative for serum HCV-RNA on RT-PCR at 24 weeks after the End of Therapy (EOT). Fasting serum triglyceride (T-G), total-Cho, and apo-B were evaluated before starting therapy and at 24 weeks after EOT.
Results: SVR rates were 74% (90/121). Serum levels of total-Cho and apo-B increased significantly (p<0.05 by Wilcoxon test) in patients infected with HCV genotypes 1 and 2 who achieved SVR at 24 weeks after EOT, as compared to before the start of therapy, but no increases were seen in non-SVR patients.
Conclusions: Infection with HCV genotypes 1 and 2 equally lowered serum levels of apo-B and total-Cho, which increased after HCV was successfully eradicated.