HCV Genotypes in Italian patients with HCV-related oral lichen planus

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has high genomic variability and since its discovery, six different ''types'' and an increasing number of ''subtypes'' have been reported. HCV genotype may influence viral replication, natural history of disease and response to therapy. Recently, an association between lichen planus (LP) and HCV infection has been suggested, as there is an increased frequency of HCV infection among some groups of patients with LP, in particular from Italy and Japan. These results have not been confirmed by other reports from different geographical areas. Since HCV genotypes have a heterogeneous geographical distribution, we have determined se by restriction fragment length polymorphism the genotypes of 39 HCV- seropositive Italian patients with oral LP in order to establish whether the association between LP and HCV infection is influenced by HCV subtype. Of the 33 (84.6%) viraemic patients, 17 (51%) were infected by HCV subtype 1b, 9 (27%) were infected by HCV subtype 2a, 2 by subtype 1a and 1 by subtype 2b. In four cases the gel patterns were uninterpretable. This distribution of HCV genotypes is similar to that reported in recent studies of Italian HCV-seropositive patients of unknown LP status. It is concluded from this small sample that the association of lichen planus with HCV infection and its differential geographic distribution is unlikely to be due to infection by a particular HCV genotype.

Author: LODI G, UNIV LONDON, EASTMAN DENT INST ORAL HLTH CARE SCI, DEPT ORAL MED, 256 GRAYS INN RD, LONDON WC1X 8LD, ENGLAND; Source: JOURNAL OF ORAL PATHOLOGY & MEDICINE 1997 SEP;26(8):38

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