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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 871401, 11 pages
Review Article

Extrahepatic Manifestations and Autoantibodies in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus Infection

1Department of Gastroenterology and Neurology, Kagawa University School of Medicine, Kagawa, Japan
2Department of Integrated Medicine, Kagawa University School of Medicine, 1750-1, Ikenobe, Miki-Cho, Kita-Gun, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan

Received 27 April 2012; Revised 13 June 2012; Accepted 13 June 2012

Academic Editor: Domenico Sansonno

Copyright © 2012 Takashi Himoto and Tsutomu Masaki. 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.


Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection frequently have many extrahepatic manifestations, as persistent HCV infection often triggers lymphoproliferative disorders and metabolic abnormalities. These manifestations primarily include autoimmune disorders such as cryoglobulinemia, Sjögren’s syndrome, and autoimmune thyroid disorders. It has been well established that chronic HCV infection plays important roles in the production of non-organ-specific autoantibodies, including antinuclear antibodies and smooth muscle antibodies, and organ-specific autoantibodies such as thyroid autoantibodies. However, the clinical significance of autoantibodies associated with the extrahepatic manifestations caused by HCV infection has not been fully recognized. In this paper, we mainly focus on the relationship between extrahepatic manifestations and the emergence of autoantibodies in patients with HCV infection and discuss the clinical relevance of the autoantibodies in the extrahepatic disorders.