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July 12, 1993

IgA Deficiency Associated With Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Cause or an Effect?

Author Affiliations

From the Liver Unit (Drs Ilan, Shouval, and Ashur), Clinical Immunology Unit (Dr Naparstek), Division of Medicine, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel; and the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Dr Manns), Zentrum Innere Medizin und Dermatologie, Hannover, Germany.

Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(13):1588-1592. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410130110011

Objective:  To evaluate the role of IgA in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We have tested serum IgA levels in patients with antibodies to HCV.

Design:  A retrospective study.

Patients:  The IgA levels were tested in serum samples from 94 patients with antibodies to HCV examined during 1989-1990.

Results:  Low IgA levels were found in 16/94 (17%) patients. In three of these 16 patients (3.2% of the original 94), no IgA was detected by radial immunodiffusion. In nine of 16 patients, previous pre-HCV infection serum samples with undetectable anti-HCV antibodies were available. In four of these nine patients, IgA deficiency was found in the preinfection serum, while in the remaining five patients, previous IgA levels were normal and the occurrence of anti-HCV was associated with the recent development of IgA deficiency.

Conclusions:  The results of this study indicate that IgA deficiency is a risk factor for HCV infection in some patients, whereas in others it might be caused by the viral disease.(Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:1588-1592)