Infection with hepatitis C virus is a risk factor of Parkinson’s disease

Sharing a momentChronic Infection with hepatitis C virus can increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease to around 30% ‒ this is a conclusion of the authors of the research carried out in Medical University of China and published in Neurology magazine.

Hepatitis C is contagious disease resulting from HCV (Hepatitis C Virus). World Health Organisation considered it as the biggest epidemiological risk of the present time. According to the estimated data, 3‒4mln people get infected with HCV and 350,000 die because of liver disease resulting from HCV each year. 400,000 ‒ 700,000 people are infected in Poland. The incubation period of the disease since penetration of HCV is 15 ‒ 150 days. In some cases spontaneous elimination of virus and recovery occurs. The characteristic of HCV infection is the transition from acute into chronic inflammation. In 20% of people after 25-30 years of chronic disease process, develops cirrhosis which nature is hidden until appearance of ascites, encephalopathy, swelling and coagulation system disorders. Furthermore, untreated HCV leads to hepatocellular carcinoma development.

HCV genome is a single stranded RNA, which consists of sequence of great variability, influencing the diversification of daughter fractions of virus during replication in infected cell. The scientists inform that RNA-Virus can infect also neurons leading to damage and deliverance of dopamine. One of concepts of Parkinson’s disease etiopathogenesis indicates early ageing and the disappearance of Substantia nigra, what consequently leads to reduction of the amount of dopamine in Dorsal striatum. A high probability of falling ill with Parkinson’s disease by a carrier of HCV is not hard to imagine.

While doing a research the scientists used the data of around 250,000 people included in the Base of Thai Health Insurance System in 2000-2010. All of those patients have been analysed. 199.868 of them were not infected with hepatitis. The other patients have been divided into three groups: infected with HBV, infected with HCV and patients infected with both of those viruses (HBV-HCV). In each of those groups the risk of development of Parkinson’s disease was observed. The scientists determined that patients with chronic HCV infection (with exclusion of other risk factors such as sex, age or cirrhosis) have an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease to 29% in comparison to people free of infection. The researchers claim that further research is necessary.

Written by: Anna Szajerska-Kurasiewicz, Karolina Gasińska

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4.Hsin-Hsin T.; Horng-Huei L.; Chih-Hsin Muo.; Cha-Ze Lee.; Ruoh-Fang Yen.; Chia-Hung Kao. Hepatitis C virus infection as a risk factor for Parkinson disease. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000002307
5.Gaweł M.; Potulska-Chromik A. Neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, Postępy Nauk Medycznych, t. XXVIII, nr 7, 2015.

Would You like to know more? Watch on Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) medical animation

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