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  • Overall more males were HCV mono and co infected though

    2021-11-25

    Overall, more males were HCV mono- and co-infected, though there was no significant age difference among groups and between men and women (all p>0.05). Almost all patients included in this study were over 40 years, in line with the period in which no HCV screening was performed in Brazilian blood banks. In addition, intravenous drugs were frequently used in the country at that time, mostly among HIV-infected men (1980s to 1990s).19, 20, 21 Therefore, these patients could have acquired HCV as well as HIV and HTLV-1/-2 infections several years ago by parenteral route [blood transfusion or intravenous drug use (IDU)]. The sexes and ages of HCV-infected patients analyzed in the present study are in agreement with previous Brazilian studies, highlighting the higher rate of HCV-infected individuals of male sex and aged over 40 years.8, 9, 14, 15, 16 Considering the viral load results, one can conclude that men had higher HCV loads, as did HCV/HIV-, HCV/HTLV-1- and HCV/HIV/HTLV-1-co-infected individuals. Lower HCV viral load were detected in women and in HCV/HTLV-2-co-infected individuals from São Paulo. These results are somewhat in accordance with those described in the USA, where females presented lower HCV viremia compared to males. These findings are also consistent with the impact of HTLV-1 in HCV infection described in other parts of the world, namely, progression of liver disease and higher HCV load in HCV/HTLV-1-co-infected patients, as reported by one study conducted in an adult population of one village endemic for HTLV-1 in Japan (Miyazaki Cohort, Southern Japan). Of interest, in a recent study conducted in Iran among IDU, higher baseline HCV viral load were detected in HCV/HIV-co-infected individuals in relation to HCV-monoinfected individuals. The authors suggested that HCV/HIV-co-infected patients should receive more attention and treatment than HCV monoinfected patients. Curiously, higher HCV loads in HCV/HIV- and in HCV/HTLV-2-co-infected individuals were detected among IDU from the USA, especially Caucasians. These findings Pyrene azide 3 with the data obtained in the present study, in which HTLV-2 appeared to reduce HCV viremia, regardless of sex. An explanation for these discordant results among individuals from São Paulo and the USA may be the genetic background of individuals and the HTLV-2 strain circulating in Brazil. Indeed, this strain differs from that circulating in the USA (HTLV-2c and HTLV-2a, respectively).25, 26 HTLV-2c has an additional 25 amino acids at the C-terminal end of the regulatory protein Tax, which may have contributed to the results obtained.25, 26 Regardless, this hypothesis requires further investigation. Of interest, when we analyzed the laboratory reports of HCV/HTLV-2-co-infected patients, 23.1% showed HCV clearance in blood during follow-up (data not shown), contrasting with 15.0% of HCV/HTLV-1-co-infected patients (p=0.02). All patients with HCV clearance received standard therapy based on the combination of pegylated-interferon alpha (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin. In effect, both the low median viral load in HTLV-2-coinfected patients and the large number of patients with HCV clearance during follow-up and treatment agree with the hypothesis of the benefit of HTLV-2c to HCV outcomes. On the one hand, our findings concerning HCV/HTLV-1-co-infected patients agree with the results from others countries, on the other hand, they differ partly from those reported in Brazil concerning the spontaneous clearance of HCV and reduced hepatic injury in HCV/HTLV-1-co-infected patients.9, 14, 15, 16 One explanation for these discordant results is the characteristics of the study population. The majority of Brazilian studies recruited patients at HTLV outpatient clinics, and this might have introduced bias in the interpretation of results. HTLV-1 infection is more frequently detected in the northeastern region of Brazil, mostly in individuals of African origin.5, 6, 8, 9, 15, 27 In fact, the majority of Brazilian studies were conducted in Salvador, Bahia, which is a city with the greatest number of African descendants in the country.8, 9, 15, 27