October 22, 2010
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can damage not only the liver but also the brain, according to a new Canadian study.
"It has been a question for a long time," said study co-author Pornpun Vivithanaporn, a post-doctoral fellow in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. "It proves the virus has implications on neurological disease."
The study showed HCV "gets in [the brain], it infects, and it replicates," said lead author Dr. Christopher Power, a neurologist at the university. A buildup of HCV proteins in healthy brain cells eventually damages and kills the cells, as if the cells were drowning in their own refuse, he said.
Researchers already knew that severe liver damage can affect the patient's brain. The new findings support other studies showing that even when serious liver damage has not occurred, HCV patients might develop memory loss, trouble concentrating, apathy, and depression.
"It tells us we need to be vigilant for neurological problems for people who have hepatitis C," Power said. An HCV patient's treatment team might need to include a neurologist and a psychologist, as well as the liver specialist, he said.
The study, "Hepatitis C Virus Core Protein Induces Neuroimmune Activation and Potentiates Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Neurotoxicity," was published in Public Library of Science ONE (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012856).
10.06.2010; Sarah O’Donnell
The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.
|No Increased Risk of Liver Cancer After Hepatitis C Treatment With Direct-Acting Antivirals|
|This Week in HIV Research: Another Person Possibly Cured of HIV; and Long-Acting Rilpivirine Suppresses HIV in Rectal Tissue|
|This Week in HIV Research: HIV-Related Inflammation May Be Irreversible; and Genetically Engineered T-Cells Resist HIV|
|How Close Are We to a Cure for HIV? A Q&A With HIV Cure Scientific Superstars|
|Dolutegravir and the Central Nervous System: A Top HIV Clinical Development of 2016|