Leucocytoclastic vasculitis associated with hepatitis C virus antibodies

The actiopathogenesis of leucocytoclastic vasculitis is still unknown, but recently hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been suggested as trigger of autoimmunity. We report a case of a 26-yr-old patient with purpura due to leucocytoclastic vasculitis associated with hepatitis C virus infection. Laboratory findings showed AST, ALT, gamma GT within normal limits, positive antibodies to HCV (IIF and Riba II) and polymerase chain reaction for HCV RNA. Anti-nuclear antibodies, IgG and IgM anti-cardiolipin antibodies, anti-platelet antibodies and anti-neurophil cytoplasmic antibodies with perinuclear pattern were also present. A skin biopsy specimen of a purpuric lesion showed leucocytoclastic vasculitis with small vessel thrombosis and perivascular deposition of IgM and fibrinogen on immunofluorescence study. This case shows a role of HCV in leucocytoclastic vasculitis; it is possible that this HCV can induce autoimmunity independently of cryoglobulins and liver involvement.

Author: Manna R, Todaro L, Latteri M, Gambassi G, Massi G, Grillo MR, Romito A, Caputo S, Gasbarrini GB, Department of Internal Medicine, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy. Source: Br J Rheumatol 36 (1): 124-125 (1997)

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