Objective: To investigate the association of cryoglobulinaemia and autoimmune markers with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients on maintenance haemodialysis (HD) and post renal transplantation. Methods: Serum samples of 103 HCV-antibody (anti-HCV) positive and 105 anti-HCV negative patients were investigated for cryoglobulins. These comprised 136 patients on HD and 72 renal transplant recipients. Serum creatinine and liver function tests were obtained on all patients. Rheumatoid factor (RF), anti nuclear antibodies (ANA), anti smooth muscle antibodies (ASMA), liver kidney microsomal antibodies (LKM), immunoglobulins (Igs) and complement levels were performed on all cryoglobulin positive (cryopositive) samples. HCV RNA and genotyping detection tests were done for cryopositive patients. Results: The prevalence of cryoglobulins in patients on HD or after renal transplantation was found to be higher (57.6%) among anti-HCV positive patients compared to the anti-HCV negative patients (42.4%) (P=0.000). RF, ANA and ASMA were also higher in cryopositive HCV infected patients. HCV RNA was present in 84.2% of anti-HCV positive patients. Cryoprecipitable RF activity was found in a higher number of symptomatic patients with HCV genotype 1compared to HCV genotype 3. Conclusion: There is an association of cryoglobulinaemia and autoimmune markers in HCV infected patients on HD, and in HCV positive renal transplant recipients. Also HCV genotype 1 is associated with symptomatic mixed cryoglobulinaemia (JPMA 57:225;2007).
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