Aspects of Immune Nonspecific and CD19+ Cell Changes in Alcoholic Liver Disease With or Without Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Liana Mos1, Adriana Plesa2

1) Medical School, Department of Internal Medicine, “V. Goldis” Western University, Arad. 2) Department of Hematology, Clinic of Pediatrics, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara


Background and aim. The incidence of hepatitis C infection is high in alcoholics. The aim of our study was to evaluate the immune nonspecific cell and the humoral mediated disorders in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) associated or not with chronic hepatitis C.

Material and methods. We selected 20 heavy drinkers (intake - over 80g ethanol/day for more than 10 years) with (8 patients) and without (12 patients) chronic viral C hepatitis. Besides the diagnostic tests including liver biopsy, hemoleucogram (leukocyte formula), serum iron level, protein electrophoresis were performed in all patients, as well as cryoglobulins, rheumatoid factor (RF), immunoglobulins, antinuclear autoantibodies and circulating immune complexes. The circulating B cells with positive CD19 markers (LyB CD19+) were evaluated by flow cytometry.

Results. All patients had reversible neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. The values of LyB CD19+ were low in all patients. All patients had similar IgG levels. The RF, cryoglobulins and autoantibodies were absent in the group of patients with ALD and HCV infection.

Conclusion. The values of LyB are low in ALD with or without HCV infection. The markers of autoimmunity (RF) or of B cell proliferation (cryoglobulins) were absent in patients with ALD abd HCV infection. Although HCV is a lymphotrophic virus, the presence of HCV had no permissive effect on the proliferation of LyB in ALD, probably due to the depressive effect of chronic alcohol intake on LyB.

Key words

Alcoholic liver disease - hepatitis C virus - humoral immunity