Researchers have conducted a study to analyze how infection by hepatitis C virus ( HCV ) may influence the immunological serum pattern of patients with Sjögren syndrome ( SS ).
Since 1994, researchers have tested serum HCV-IgG antibodies in 783 patients with Sjögren syndrome diagnosed according to the 1993 European classification criteria.
The immunological profile at diagnosis was compared according to the presence or absence of HCV.
Of the 783 patients with Sjögren syndrome, 105 ( 13.4% ) tested positive for HCV-IgG antibodies ( 88 females, 17 males, mean age at diagnosis of Sjögren syndrome: 62.9 years ).
Multivariate analysis showed that patients with Sjögren syndrome-HCV had a higher mean age and a higher frequency of low C3/C4 levels, cryoglobulins, and hematological neoplasia compared with patients without HCV.
The frequency of anti-La antibodies compared with anti-Ro antibodies was higher in patients with Sjögren syndrome-HCV ( 17% vs. 15% ) and lower in patients without HCV infection ( 30% vs 43% ).
The frequency of concomitant detection of the three main cryoglobulin-related markers ( cryoglobulins, rheumatoid factor activity, and C4 consumption ) was threefold higher in patients with Sjögren syndrome-HCV compared with patients without HCV.
Sjögren syndrome-HCV patients with genotype 1b showed the highest frequencies of immunological abnormalities related to cryoglobulins and the lowest frequencies of anti-Ro/La antibodies.
In conclusion, HCV infection was found in 13% of a large series of Spanish patients with Sjögren syndrome.
The HCV-driven autoimmune response was characterized by a lower frequency of anti-Ro/La antibodies, an abnormal predominance of anti-La among anti-Ro antibodies, and a higher frequency of cryoglobulinemic-related immunological markers in comparison with patients without HCV infection.
This immunological pattern may contribute to the poor outcomes found in patients with Sjögren syndrome-HCV. ( Xagena )
Brito-Zerón P et al,Arthritis Res Ther 2015;17:250. doi: 10.1186/s13075-015-0766-3.