Objective Salivary gland disorders in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) have been considered oral extrahepatic manifestations, reinforcing the hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a sialotropic virus. Hence, the authors investigated the prevalence of HCV RNA in saliva and salivary glands and its possible association with xerostomia, hyposalivation and sialadenitis in patients with CHC.
Patients and methods In 65 patients with confirmed CHC, the HCV RNA was investigated by nested RT-PCR in saliva samples and minor salivary glands. Xerostomia, hyposalivation, clinical and histopathological evidence of sialadenitis were also evaluated. Univariate and multivariate analyses were employed to verify associations.
Results HCV RNA was detected in the saliva of 26/65 (40.0%) patients and in 12/65 (18.5%) salivary glands. Xerostomia was reported by 23/65 (35.4%) patients, and hyposalivation was diagnosed in 13/65 (20.0%) patients. Sialadenitis was confirmed by histopathological features in 31/65 (47.7%) patients. Twelve (38.7%) of the 31 patients with sialadenitis presented HCV RNA in saliva and 2/31 (6.5%) in salivary glands. No associations were found between xerostomia, hyposalivation or sialadenitis and the detection of HCV RNA in saliva or in salivary glands.
Conclusions Although xerostomia, hyposalivation and sialadenitis are frequent findings in CHC patients, our study did not confirm the association between the detection of HCV RNA in saliva or salivary glands with these salivary gland disorders. However, an indirect role of HCV by immune-mediated virus mechanisms in the pathogenesis of salivary gland disorders in this group of patients cannot be ruled out.
- Chronic hepatitis C
- salivary gland
- liver disease
- oral pathology
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Funding This study was supported by grants from CAPES, FAPEMIG and CNPq. RT and GCdO are research fellows of CNPq.
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.