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Keywords:

  • alcoholic;
  • HCV;
  • hepatitis;
  • histology

Abstract: To clarify the relationship between hepatitis C virus infection and excessive alcohol intake, we carried out histological examination of the liver in 46 alcoholics with chronic hepatitis C virus infection and compared the findings in 55 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 38 with alcoholic liver disease, and 27 with chronic hepatitis B. The majority of alcoholics with chronic hepatitis C virus infection displayed virus-related histological changes very similar to those in chronic hepatitis C, including frequent lymphoid follicles (34.7%) or aggregates (93.3%) in the portal tracts, mild necroinflammatory change (76.1%) in the parenchyma, and lymphocytosis in sinusoids (82.7%). Liver cell dysplasia and irregular regenerative activity of hepatocytes were rarely observed. The effects of alcohol on the liver were found to be minimal in the majority. These findings could suggest that the hepatic injury in the majority of alcoholics with chronic hepatitis C virus infection in Japan is due to persistent hepatitis C virus infection rather than to alcoholic injury. In addition, our study disclosed that the perivenular fibrosis which is designated as a histological characteristic of alcoholic liver disease is frequently observed in chronic hepatitis C. These similarities suggest that a similar fibrogenesis is present in chronic hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease.