Scientific reports 2016 12 236() 39409 doi 10.1038/srep39409
Hepatitis B virus/hepatitis C virus (HBV/HCV) dual infection is common among high-risk individuals. To characterize the virological and immunological features of patients with HBV/HCV dual infection, we enrolled 1,049 individuals who have been identified as injection drug users. Patients were divided into single and dual infection groups according to the serological markers. We found the average HCV RNA level was significantly lower; however, HBV viral load was significantly higher in HBV/HCV dual-infected patients (n = 42) comparing HCV single infection (n = 340) or HBV single infection (n = 136). The level of anti-HBs in patients who experienced spontaneous HBV clearance was higher than that in HCV single-infected patients with HBV spontaneous clearance. The level of anti-HCV E2 in HBV/HCV dual infection was lower than that detected in HCV single infection. Serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α were significantly lower in HBV/HCV dual-infected patients than in patients infected with HBV or HCV alone. Taken together, two viral replications are imbalanced in dual infected patients. The anti-HBs and anti-HCV E2 antibody production were impaired and proinflammatory IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α also downregulated due to dual infection. These findings will help further understanding the pathogenesis of HBV/HCV dual infection.