Hepatitis C virus infection is associated with endothelial dysfunction in HIV/hepatitis C virus coinfected patients

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Objective:To quantify serum levels of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) in HIV/HCV coinfected patients to examine their association with several clinical and epidemiological characteristics and the therapeutic responsiveness to interferon (IFN)-α and ribavirin therapy (IFN-α + RBV).Design:Retrospective study.Methods:We carried out a cross-sectional study with 183 IFN-α-naive patients on HAART, and 24 healthy controls. We also analyzed 30 out of 183 patients on IFN-α + RBV for the duration of 48 weeks.Results:HIV/HCV coinfected patients had higher levels of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 than the healthy control group (P < 0.05). Patients with HCV-genotype 1, advanced fibrosis (F≥3) or moderate to severe activity grade (A≥2) had the highest values of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1. When we carried out a multivariate analysis, we found a significant positive relationship between both HCV-genotype 1 and advanced fibrosis (F≥3) with sICAM-1 (R = 0.549; P < 0.001); and a significant positive relationship between HCV-genotype 1 and advanced fibrosis (F≥3) with sVCAM-1 (R = 0.624; P < 0.001). We also found a positive relationship of sICAM-1 or sVCAM-1 levels with transaminases and alkaline phosphatase circulation levels (P < 0.05). Nonresponder patients had higher sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 serum levels, and patients with sustained virologic response had significantly lower levels of sICAM-1 (P = 0.001) and sVCAM-1 (P = 0.019).Conclusion:HIV and HCV coinfection induces alterations in sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 serum levels, which were higher in patients with HCV-genotype 1 and advanced stage of HCV infection. However, response to IFN-α + RBV may reduce these cardiovascular risk markers.

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