Taiwanese patients with hepatitis C virus infection showed an increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, according to published findings.
Using data from 49,967 patients with viral hepatitis enrolled in the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database from 2000 to 2010, Hsin-Hsi Tsai, MD, department of neurology, National Taiwan University Hospital, and colleagues conducted a nationwide population-based cohort study to determine any link between Parkinson’s disease and hepatitis. This cohort was compared with 199,868 people without viral hepatitis.
Patients with viral hepatitis had either HBV (71%), HCV (21%) or HBV/HCV coinfection (8%) and were followed for a mean of 12 years to determine the incidence of Parkinson’s disease.
Hsin-Hsi Tsai, MD
“Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the early prominent death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta,” Tsai told Healio.com/Hepatology. “There is evidence that the essential HCV receptors are expressed on brain microvascular endothelial cells, a major component of the [blood-brain barrier], compromising the [blood-brain barrier] integrity, and implying the entry of the [central nervous system].”
Overall, 270 patients with viral hepatitis developed Parkinson’s disease, including 120 with HCV. Among those without hepatitis, 1,060 developed Parkinson’s disease. Crude HR for developing Parkinson’s disease was 0.66 (95% CI, 0.55-0.8) for patients with HBV, 2.5 (95% CI, 2.07-3.02) for HCV and 1.28 (95% CI, 0.88-1.85) for HBV/HCV coinfection.
After adjusting for age, gender, cirrhosis and other comorbidities, patients with HCV were 30% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared with patients who did not have hepatitis (adjusted HR = 1.29; 95% CI, 1.06-1.56). The patients with HBV and HBV/HCV coinfection did not have an increased or decreased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease compared with those without hepatitis, according to the research.
“Many factors clearly play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease, including environmental factors,” researcher Chia-Hung Kao, MD, China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, said in a press release.
“From the clinical perspective, this study shows the positive association between HCV infection and Parkinson’s disease, which has important clinical implications for high endemic HCV areas,” Tsai told Healio.com/Hepatology. “More detailed neurological tests or functional images might be needed to help us detect early or subclinical Parkinson’s disease in patients with HCV infection.” – by Melinda Stevens
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.