Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most important causes of chronic liver diseases, which include inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Several factors have been proposed to determine the clinical outcome of HCV infection. The accurate mechanism by which HCV damages the liver remains poorly understood. In chronic hepatitis C patients, the relation between serum biochemical markers, HCV RNA titers and histological liver injury remain controversial.Objectives
The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between serum biochemical markers, HCV RNA titers and the degree of liver damage in patients with chronic HCV.Materials and methods
Liver biopsies were performed on 79 of a total of 100 enrolled patients. The histological activity was evaluated by the METAVER scoring system. HCV RNA quantification was performed by quantitative real-time PCR, and HCV genotyping was performed by nested PCR. Biochemical markers were measured with biochemical instruments.Results
HCV RNA titers were significantly correlated with aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (P=0.004), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (P=0.001) and total bilirubin (P=0.012) levels. HCV RNA titers were also significantly correlated with a progression of the fibrosis stage (P=0.000), but no correlation was observed with the change in inflammatory grades. It was observed that bilirubin levels were higher in later fibrosis stages as compared with the initial stage (P=0.000). Results revealed that in different fibrosis stages, the levels of AST (P=0.000), ALP (P=0.000) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (P=0.008), the age at diagnosis (P=0.000), the present age (P=0.000) and the BMI (P=0.009) were statistically significant. In the case of the inflammatory grade, levels of bilirubin (P=0.000), ALP (P=0.000), AST (P=0.016) and ALT (P=0.000) were statistically different between the inflammatory grades.Conclusion
Serum HCV RNA titers were correlated with AST, ALP and total bilirubin. Levels of ALT, AST, ALP and bilirubin had significant relation with the liver fibrosis stage and the inflammatory grade in genotype 3a. Hence, our study suggests that AST, ALP and ALT may correlate with liver damage.