Transplantation of a Liver Allograft From a Hepatitis C Virus Seropositive Donor With Previous Sustained Virologic Response to an Uninfected Recipient Suffering Steroid Refractory Acute Graft Rejection With No Evidence of HCV Transmission

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Abstract

Background

The goal of treating chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is sustained virologic response (SVR). There is concern that despite achieving SVR, replication-competent HCV may be sequestered at low levels within the liver and could theoretically reactivate with immunosuppression. We report transplantation of a HCV-seropositive liver donor, who achieved SVR, into a seronegative patient without HCV reactivation despite profound immunosuppression.

Method

Retrospective chart review.

Results

We present a 21-year-old male who was HCV seronegative and received a liver transplant from a donor who had been treated for HCV and achieved SVR. The liver recipient, despite developing severe acute graft rejection and undergoing intense immunosuppression with T cell–depleting antibodies, did not become HCV RNA-positive with a follow up period of 8 months. The recipient was HCV seronegative before transplant, but became HCV seropositive immediately posttransplant. The antibodies were undetectable after 97 days, in keeping with a passive antibody transmission or B lymphocyte transmission with the graft.

Conclusions

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of an HCV seropositive liver allograft transplanted into an HCV-negative recipient who subsequently received intense immunosuppression. This case, therefore, is an encouraging and novel step in liver transplantation, and demonstrates that SVR may be closer to a true “cure” of HCV in the donor population and that, even in circumstances of very potent immunosuppression in the recipient, this SVR is sustained.

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