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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 23, Issue 12, Pages 822-828
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/290383
Review

The Role of Iron in the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C

Leslie Price and Kris V Kowdley

Center for Liver Disease, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA

Received 10 March 2009; Accepted 11 March 2009

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Increased hepatic iron content may be observed in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, and may contribute to disease severity. The presence of hemochromatosis gene mutations is associated with increased hepatic iron accumulation and may lead to accelerated disease progression. Hepatic iron depletion has been postulated to decrease the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with cirrhosis due to chronic hepatitis C. It is possible that iron depletion stabilizes or improves liver histology and slows disease progression in these individuals. The present article reviews the prevalence and risk factors for hepatic iron overload in chronic hepatitis C, with emphasis on the available data regarding the efficacy of iron depletion in the treatment of this common liver disease.