Background High seroprevalence of human herpesvirus type 8 (HHV-8) in patients with cirrhosis has been reported to be associated with thrombocytopenia. Severe cirrhosis is always complicated with ascites. HHV-8 DNA levels in effusion from patients with primary effusion lymphoma has been reported to be significantly greater than in blood. The status of HHV-8 antibody and DNA in cirrhotic ascites is unclear.
Aims To assess the status of HHV-8 antibody and DNA in cirrhotic ascites compared to that in cirrhotic plasma.
Methods Plasma and ascites samples were collected from 85 patients with cirrhosis. HHV-8 antibody and DNA were detected by immunofluorescence assay and PCR, respectively.
Results Male patients seropositive for HHV-8 antibody were significantly younger than seropositive female patients (p=0.0039). The seropositive rate in patients with cirrhosis was not associated with thrombocytopenia (p=0.6860). Both positive rate and titres of antibody in plasma were much greater than in ascites (p<0.0001). More male or Child–Pugh class C than female or class B seropositive patients were positive for ascites. No hepatitis C virus-related ascites were positive for antibody. Neither plasma nor ascites samples from any subject were positive for HHV-8 DNA.
Conclusions In patients with cirrhosis, the seropositive rate for HHV-8 antibody is independent of thrombocytopenia. The positive rate for HHV-8 antibody in cirrhotic ascites seems to be associated with sex, disease severity and disease aetiology.
- human herpesvirus type 8
- Kaposi's sarcoma
- primary effusion lymphoma
- hepatitis B virus surface antigen
- hepatitis B virus
- immunofluorescence assay
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Funding This study was supported by grants DTCRD 95(2)-04 and DTCRD 97-04 from the Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the institutional review board of the Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.
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