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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Impact of hepatitis C virus co-infection on HIV patients before and after highly active antiretroviral therapy: an immunological and clinical chemistry observation, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Solomon Taye12* and Mekuria Lakew2

Author Affiliations

1 Madawalabu University, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, P.O. Box 302, Bale Goba, Ethiopia

2 Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Immunology 2013, 14:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-14-23

Published: 17 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an RNA virus which has been known to cause acute and chronic necro-inflammatory disease of the liver. It is the leading cause of end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. HIV is known to have a negative impact on the natural disease outcome and immune response of HCV infection, whereas the reverse remains unclear. We evaluated the impact of HCV co-infection on recovery of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells and liver enzyme levels before and after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV/HCV co-infected patients.

Methods

A hospital-based, observational, prospective cohort study design was used for this study. Pre-antiretroviral treatment (Pre-ART) and under HAART HIV mono-infected and HCV/HIV co-infected individuals who are under regular follow-up were recruited for this study. 387 blood samples were collected from volunteer, known HIV positive Ethiopian patients and screened for HCV. Twenty five HCV/HIV co-infected patients were prospectively followed for four years. CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells and liver enzyme levels were determined annually for each of the participant.

Results

The prevalence of HCV/HIV co-infection in this study was 6.5%. Both HCV/HIV co-infected and HIV mono-infected under HAART groups showed CD4+ recovery (343 Vs 426; P < 0.004, OR = 4.97, 95% CI = 2.41 to 10.27) respectively; but, the recovery rate was higher in mono-infected (80 Vs 426) than co-infected group (148 Vs 343). The recovery and/or decline pattern of CD8+ T-cells was the same with that of CD4+. In 75% of co-infected groups, the mean alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels were above the upper limit of normal reference range. Analyses restricted to individuals who initiated HAART and pre-ART showed similar results.

Conclusion

We found that CD4+ T-cell recovery was negatively affected by the presence of ongoing HCV replication in under HAART co-infected individuals and fast decline of CD4+ T-cells in pre-ART patients. It was also associated with increased ALT and AST enzyme levels in both HAART initiated and treatment naïve co-infected patients.

Keywords:
Immunological; HCV/HIV co-infection; Pre-ART; HAART; CD4+; CD8+; GOT; GPT; Alkaline phosphatase