Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Its Association with Hepatitis C Virus Infection
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been associated with a plethora of immune and autoimmune perturbations. A variety of conditions ranging from endocrinopathies to different skin diseases have been described in HCV infection. The association of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) with HCV infection has been reported in literature. Some data so far accessible are controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and clinical significance of HCV infection in patients with HT.
Materials and Methods: A total of 50 patients with HT (35 women, 15 men, mean age: 33.82 ± 13.68 years) and 50 control subjects (33 women, 17 men, mean age: 32.90 ± 13.07 years) were examined. Third generation ELISA test was used for detection of antibodies for HCV in human sera, and anti-HCV positive patients were tested for HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results: All normal controls were anti-HCV negative whereas anti-HCV antibody was present in 2 patients with HT, confirmed by RTPCR. Fisher’s exact test was used to compare relative frequencies. Results indicated that there was no significant difference of anti-HCV antibodies between patients and controls.
Conclusion: In this study no relationship was found between HCV infection and HT, implying that hepatitis C virus has no a direct causal role in the pathogenesis of HT, this however does not rule out a “hit and run” virus induced disease.