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Open Access Research article

Lymphocyte subsets in hemophilic patients with hepatitis C virus infection with or without human immunodeficiency virus co-infection: a nested cross-sectional study

Mingdong Zhang1*, Thomas R O'Brien1, William C Kopp2, James J Goedert1 and for the Multicenter Hemophilia Cohort Study3

Author Affiliations

1 Viral Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD; USA

2 SAIC Frederick, Inc., Frederick, MD, USA

3 Other collaborators and institutions of the Multicenter Hemophilia Cohort Study are in the Appendix

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BMC Blood Disorders 2005, 5:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2326-5-2

Published: 18 January 2005

Abstract

Background

With chronic infection, hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA can be detected in B cells and associated with B-cell disorders, but these are not well defined.

Methods

The relationship between HCV infection and lymphocyte subpopulations was evaluated rigorously in 120 asymptomatic hemophilic patients, randomly selected from a prospective cohort study. CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, CD19+ B cells, and CD56+ NK cells were quantified by flow cytometry using cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 24 hemophilic patients in each of five age-matched groups [uninfected; chronic HCV with or without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); and cleared HCV with or without HIV].

Results

As expected, patients with HIV had significantly reduced CD4+ and increased CD8+ T cells. Irrespective of HIV, patients with chronic HCV infection had approximately 25% fewer CD19+ B cells than those without chronic HCV infection.

Conclusions

These data support the hypothesis that asymptomatic patients with chronic HCV infection have an altered B-lymphocyte population.