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Reuters Health Information (2003-10-16): Pregnancy may have beneficial effect on chronic HCV infection


Pregnancy may have beneficial effect on chronic HCV infection

Last Updated: 2003-10-16 10:01:53 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Pregnancy and parturition may enhance the natural resolution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA in women with chronic HCV infection, according to a report published in the October issue of the Journal of Medical Virology.

The findings are based on a study of 22 pregnant and 120 nonpregnant female patients infected with HCV. Patients in both groups tested positive for anti-HCV antibodies and for HCV RNA.

In the pregnant group, two women lost HCV RNA permanently after parturition and one lost HCV RNA intermittently, Dr. Masashi Mizokami, from Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Japan, and colleagues note. In contrast, in the control group, one woman lost HCV RNA permanently and one lost it intermittently (p = 0.03).

At 3 months after parturition, women who lost HCV RNA were more likely than those with persistent HCV RNA to have an HCV core protein level < 15 fmol/L (p = 0.02).

"The mechanism by which pregnancy and delivery influence HCV viremia levels is not well understood," the authors note. However, it may be immune-mediated and result from the post-delivery "rebound of the Th1 response after Th2 shift during pregnancy."

Taken together, the findings suggest that "pregnancy and parturition may improve the prognosis in women with chronic HCV infection," they add.

J Med Virol 2003;71:205-211.

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