The presence of occult hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (OCI) is still controversial, however, this infection cannot be ignored. Therefore, the current study aimed at assessing the OCI frequency in patients on chronic hemodialysis (CHD) and also evaluating the association between OCI incidence with clinical parameters and interferon lambda 3/4 (IFNL3/4) gene polymorphisms.
A total of 515 patients on CHD and HCV negative markers were selected. Plus‐ and minus‐stranded HCV‐RNA was tested in peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and then genotyped using the restriction fragment length polymorphism method.
The frequency of OCI was 11.3% in patients on CHD. Among 58 patients with OCI, 25.8%, 62.1%, and 12.1% were infected with HCV‐1a, HCV‐1b, and HCV‐3a, respectively. The mean alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase levels were 31.9 ± 24.8, 32.3 ± 19.1, and 171.6 ± 88.9, respectively. None of the patients with OCI had a history of liver disease. Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that cholesterol, triglyceride, low‐density lipoprotein, 25‐hydroxyvitamin D, platelets, duration of hemodialysis, HCV subtypes, IFNL3 rs12979860 TT, IFNL3 rs8099917 GG, IFNL3 rs12980275 GG, and IFNL4 ss469415590 ΔG/ΔG genotypes were associated with OCI.
There was a moderate prevalence of OCI in Iranian patients on CHD. The current study findings indicated that this infection was associated with clinical parameters and unfavorable genotypes of IFNL3 single nucleotide polymorphisms and IFNL4 ss469415590. Further studies are required to determine the correlation between OCI incidence with clinical parameters and host genetic factors.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.