Introduction: The contribution of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection per se in thyroid autoimmunity and dysfunction remains controversial.
Aim: To investigate the prevalence of thyroid disorders and the possible association between thyroid dysfunction and different factors in a cohort of HCV untreated patients.
Material and methods: A total 1050 patients with untreated HCV infection were enrolled in this study. Thyroid function tests (TSH, FT3, FT4), antiperoxidase (TPO-Ab), antithyroglobulin (Tg-Ab), thyroid ultrasound, real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to assess HCV RNA viral load, and fibroscan to determine degree of hepatic fibrosis were done.
Results: Thyroid dysfunction was found in 17.1% of patients: 11.5% hypothyroidism and 5.6% hyperthyroidism. Subclinical hypothyroidism, overt hypothyroidism, subclinical hyperthyroidism and overt hyperthyroidism were detected in 8.6%, 2.8%, 3.3%, and 2.3% of patients, respectively. Thyroid ultrasound showed abnormality in 10.2% of subjects. TPO-Ab and Tg-Ab were positive in 5.1% and 6.4% of patients, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between euthyroid patients and patients with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism regarding age (P=0.12), gender (P=0.05), viral load (P=0.83) or fibrosis stage (P=0.77). However, TPO-Ab was more frequently positive in hyperthyroid patients compared to euthyroid (P<0.001) and hypothyroid (P<0.001) subjects. Furthermore, positive TPO-Ab was only significantly associated with thyroid state (P<0.001) and duration of HCV infection (P=0.02)
Conclusion: In the current study, the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction is 17.1% of patients with HCV infection. Furthermore, thyroid disorder is related mainly to thyroid autoimmunity independent of age, gender or level of viraemia.
Keywords: thyroid, hepatitis C virus, thyroid antibodies
18 - 21 May 2019
European Society of Endocrinology