While African-Americans have twice the rate of [ hepatitis C virus ] infection and are more frequently infected with genotype 1 virus , the natural history of this disease and its histologic progression have not been reported previously , said primary investigator Thelma E. Wiley , MD , medical director of the liver transplantation unit at the Digestive Diseases and Liver Center , University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center ( UICMC )
Thus , Dr. Wiley
colleagues at UICMC set out to determine the natural history of HCV in this population.
The team reviewed the charts of 438 study participants who were HCV-RNA-positive.They analyzed demographic , virologic , biochemical and histologic data , including age , gender , race , weight , alcohol intake–defined as any history of alcohol use , even mild to moderate intake–baseline alanine aminotransferase ( ALT ) , and mode and duration of infection.
Liver biopsies that had been previously performed were re-read by a blinded hepatologist.
There were 112 African-Americans and 243 Americans of other races included in the patients studied.
In the second and third decade of infection , African-Americans had significantly lower PMN compared to non-African-Americans , Dr. Wiley
said.But while the degree of fibrosis increased over the four decades of exposure [ to HCV ] in both populations , the African-Americans had significantly less fibrosis and cirrhosis in the third and fourth decades..
By the fourth decade of HCV infection , 51 % of non-African-Americans in the study had cirrhosis , while only 22 % of African-Americans were cirrhotic.
We found that the rate of fibrosis progression was slower in African-Americans , resulting in a lower rate of cirrhosis , said Dr. Wiley
.All of our data together suggest that African-Americans may lack immune recognition of HCV-infected liver cells..
–Rosemary Frei , MSc
This article is derived from the McMahon Archives.This information may be time sensitive and was archived on 8/31/2000.