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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