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Hepatitis C and bile duct loss.
  1. R D Goldin,
  2. N K Patel,
  3. H C Thomas
  1. Department of Histopathology, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London.


    AIM: To assess whether bile duct loss is associated with the bile duct damage induced by chronic hepatitis C. METHODS: Sections were examined from 171 liver biopsy specimens from patients with chronic hepatitis C, 98 biopsy specimens from patients with chronic hepatitis B, 25 postmortem specimens from patients with no evidence of liver disease, and 23 patients who underwent protocol liver biopsy at the time of cholecystectomy. RESULTS: The bile duct:portal tract ratio for the hepatitis C group was 0.89, for the hepatitis B group was 0.93 and for the two control groups was 0.96 and 0.90, respectively. The ratio was lower in the hepatitis C group than in the other three. In no case of chronic hepatitis C was the ratio less than 0.60. In the hepatitis C group greater bile duct loss was seen in cirrhotic patients. CONCLUSIONS: Hepatitis C is associated with bile duct loss and this was related to the stage of the disease. However, in the cases studied this did not reach what is generally considered to be significant (that is, greater than 50% of portal tracts lacking bile ducts). This does not preclude a contributory effect of hepatitis C to bile duct loss in the presence of other risk factors, especially in liver transplant recipients.

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