Rowell J, Thompson A, Guyton JR, Qian LX, McHutchison JG, McCarthy JJ and Patel K. Serum apolipoprotein C-III is independently associated with chronic hepatitis C infection and advanced fibrosis. Hepatol Int 2011 Jul 7.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is known to disrupt lipid metabolism, making serum lipoprotein levels good candidates to explore as markers of HCV disease progression. Assessment of the major apolipoproteins (Apo) and their relationship to hepatic fibrosis remain largely unexplored.
We compared the levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and Apo A-I, -B, -C-III, and -E between patients with cleared versus active infection (n = 83), and between those chronically infected patients (n = 216) with advanced versus mild-moderate hepatic fibrosis (METAVIR stage F3-4 vs. F0-2) using multiple logistic regression.
Apo C-III levels were 25% higher in subjects with cleared infection versus those with active infection (p = 0.009). Low levels of Apo C-III (p = 1.3 × 10(-5)), Apo A-I (p = 2.9 × 10(-5)), total cholesterol (p = 5.0 × 10(-4)), LDL-C (p = 0.005), and HDL-C (p = 2.0 × 10(-4)) were associated with advanced fibrosis in univariate analyses. Multivariable analysis revealed Apo C-III as the most significant factor associated with advanced fibrosis (p = 0.0004), followed by age (p = 0.013) and Apo A-I (p = 0.022). Inclusion of both Apo C-III and Apo A-I in a model to predict advanced fibrosis improved the area under the receiver operator curve only modestly.
Relative to other lipoproteins, low serum Apo C-III levels are the most strongly associated with chronic versus cleared infection and decline with increasing severity of hepatic fibrosis. Apo C-III deserves further attention as a possible marker of HCV disease progression.