Serum globulin levels in predicting the extent of hepatic fibrosis in patients with recurrent post-transplant hepatitis C infection

Hemda Schmilovitz-weiss, Michal Cohen, Orit Pappo, Jaqueline Sulkes, Marius Braun, Ran Tur-kaspa, Ziv Ben-Ari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The progression of HCV-related disease is particularly aggressive in the post-transplantation setting. Recipients with recurrent HCV infection undergo repeated liver biopsies in order to estimate disease progression. A strong association was found between serum immunoglobulins levels and hepatic fibrosis in non-transplanted patients with chronic HCV infection. The aim of this study was to determine if serum globulin and immunoglobulins levels can predict the extent of fibrosis in patients with recurrent HCV infection. The records of 45 patients (mean age 51.6 ± 10.5 p;yr; 53.3% men) with biochemical, serologic, virologic, and histological evidence of recurrent HCV infection were reviewed. Recurrence developed after a median interval of 11.7 months (range: 3-106); in 14 patients (31.1%), the recurrent infection was severe. The mean duration of follow-up was 51.4 ± 35.4 months. A total of 96 liver biopsies were performed. The mean fibrosis score increased significantly with an increase in the number of biopsies (p < 0.0001, r = 0.44). On multivariate analysis, the only predictors of severe fibrosis were serum levels of globulin (OR: 5.97, 95% CI: 1.82-19.53; p = 0.0004) and IgG (OR: 1.003, 95% CI: 1.001-1.006; p = 0.018). On linear regression analysis, for each 0.5-g/dL increase in serum globulin level, there was a 0.22-point increase in fibrosis stage. In conclusion, serum levels of globulin and IgG can serve as a noninvasive marker of the extent of hepatic fibrosis in patients with post-transplant recurrent HCV infection, thus avoiding the need for repeated liver biopsies. These findings, if confirmed, have important implications for the prevention and treatment of fibrosis in this patient group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Liver fibrosis score
  • Serum immunoglobulins


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