Higher Endogenous Erythropoietin Levels in Hemodialysis Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Effect on Anemia


Study for influence of chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) on endogenous erythropoietin production and on anemia in dialysis patients remains inconclusive. We hypothesize that chronic hemodialysis patients with co-existing Hepatitis C infection will have higher hemoglobin levels than chronic hemodialysis patients without hepatitis C infection. Secondly, we hypothesize that the higher hemoglobin levels will be associated with higher erythropoietin levels. Therefore we conducted a cross-sectional study of chronic hemodialysis patients with and without hepatitis C infection and evaluated associations with hemoglobin and erythropoietin levels. Our primary outcome was level of hemoglobin. Secondary outcome included association of hemoglobin and erythropoietin levels. 57 chronic hemodialysis patients (33 male, 24 female, mean age 46.05 ± 12.7 years) were included. The mean time spent on hemodialysis was 7.16 ± 6.2 years. None of the patients received any recombinant EPO therapy. Biochemical analyses include ALT, AST, Albumin, C-Reactive Protein, cholesterol levels and complete blood counts. Iron status of patients (transferrin saturation and serum ferritin levels) and parathyroid hormone were measured. Endogenous EPO serum levels were measured by a standardized enzyme-linked immunoassay. 23 of the hemodialysed patients (38.5%) were HCV (+). There was no difference in age, sex, distribution of primary renal diseases, iron status, albumin, C-Reactive-Protein and parathyroid hormone levels between HCV (+) and (-) patients. Mean duration time on dialysis was higher in HCV (+) than HCV (-) patients. Hemoglobin levels were similar between study groups. However serum endogenous erythropoietin levels were significantly higher in HCV (+) patients than HCV (-) patients (19.6 ± 10 mUI/ml vs 7.8 ± 7.7 mUI/ml, p = 0.03). No correlation has been found between the severity of anemia and HCV infection. However, HCV (+) hemodialysed patients had higher serum endogenous erythropoietin levels as compared to HCV (-) patients. Further studies are needed to clarify why high endogenous erythropoietin level does not improve anemia in HCV infected hemodialysis patients.

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Boubaker, K. , Mahfoudhi, M. , Battikh, A. , Bounemra, A. , Maktouf, C. and Kheder, A. (2015) Higher Endogenous Erythropoietin Levels in Hemodialysis Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Effect on Anemia. Open Journal of Nephrology, 5, 29-34. doi: 10.4236/ojneph.2015.52004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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