From the Journals

Hepatitis Outlook: Late February 2017


If you work on the front lines of medical care, treating patients with hepatitis, you may not have time to review all the hepatitis research that enters the medical literature every month. Here’s a quick look at some notable news items and journal articles published over the past month, which cover a variety of the major hepatitis viruses.

Sequential therapy with pegylated interferon after long-term–nucleoside/nucleotide analog therapy enhances the reduction of hepatitis B surface antigen and may represent a treatment option to promote HBsAg loss, a recent study revealed.

The Killer immunoglobulin-like receptor, KIR2DL3, and the KIR ligand groups, HLA-A-Bw4 and HLA-C2, can predict the outcome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, according to a study in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.

Researchers in Egypt say that combining serum microRNAs with baseline predictors could serve as a new non-invasive algorithm for staging hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated liver fibrosis.

Patients with acute HBV infection who also have prodromal fever, which is associated with the lack of hepatitis B core antigen due to HBV mutations, are at high risk for acute liver failure, and these patients should be treated with special care, a recent study found.

Iranian researchers found that innate immune response genes are expressed differentially among chronic HBV phases and say this difference may help to develop new precise and noninvasive methods to determine the progression of disease in chronic HBV patients.

A study in Hepatology found that the protein arginine methyltransferase 5 restricts hepatitis B virus replication via epigenetic repression of covalently closed circular DNA transcription and interference with pregenomic RNA encapsidation.

Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients in China experienced immunosuppression mediated by regulatory T cells that was lower during and after combination therapy, regardless of treatment response. Immunosuppression was higher in patients with sustained viral response than in those without SVR at the end of follow-up.

Hepatoblasts derived from human embryonic stem cells are the optimal hosts for HCV infectivity, according to a study in Hepatology.

A study of U.S. veterans found that HBV reactivation of varying severity, even in the setting of isolated anti–hepatitis B core antigen with or without accompanying hepatitis, can occur. The authors said the occurrence of accompanying severe hepatitis was rare, however.

A study in Italy found that an elevated fibrosis-4 index turned out to be an important predictor of hepatocellular carcinoma occurrence in patients with chronic HCV. The investigators said the assessment of FIB-4 in HCV RNA-positive individuals may help in identifying the highest Hierarchical Condition Categories–risk individuals who need anti-HCV treatment most urgently.

Despite the eradication of HCV transmission by blood products, HCV infection continues to be one of the leading blood-borne infections in Europe, according to an epidemiological study in Infectious Agents and Cancer.

On Twitter @richpizzi

Next Article: