Exploring the Bidirectional Interactions Between Human Cytomegalovirus and Hepatitis C Virus Replication After Liver Transplantation

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Recurrence of Hepatitis C (HCV) post-liver transplantation (LT) is universal and its course is more aggressive than in immunocompetent individuals. Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a common post-LT infection and has immunomodulatory effects that could adversely affect the outcome of HCV. To date, the effect of HCV replication on the dynamics of CMV have not been investigated. From 2000 to 2004, a cohort of 69 HCV-infected liver transplant recipients and 188 HCV-negative liver transplant recipients (NON-HCV cohort) were monitored for CMV infection twice weekly by CMV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with preemptive therapy initiated after 2 consecutive positive results. None of the patients received CMV prophylaxis. A subset of 18 HCV-infected patients had their HCV viral load monitored regularly post-LT by quantitative PCR. CMV DNAemia (>200 genomes/mL blood) did not influence the level of HCV replication within 150 days posttransplantation or the stage of liver fibrosis in liver biopsies at 1 yr post-LT. There were no differences in the incidence of CMV DNAemia or replication dynamics in the HCV cohort compared to the NON-HCV cohort. In conclusion, short term CMV viremia does not enhance the replication of HCV after LT, while HCV replication does not alter the replication dynamics of CMV. Liver Transpl 13:130–135, 2007. © 2006 AASLD.

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