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Human herpesvirus type 8 in patients with cirrhosis independent of thrombocytopenia


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.

  • Alcohol
  • cirrhosis
  • HBV
  • HCV
  • HHV-8
  • HHV-8
  • human herpesvirus type 8
  • KS
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • PEL
  • primary effusion lymphoma
  • HBsAg
  • hepatitis B virus surface antigen
  • HBV
  • hepatitis B virus
  • HCV
  • hepatitis
  • C
  • virus
  • IFA
  • immunofluorescence assay

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