The effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy on liver function in human immunodeficiency virus-infected pediatric patients with or without hepatitis virus co-infection

Lijuan Wu, Changzhong Jin, Shi Bai, Henry Davies, Heping Rao, Yong Liang, Nanping Wu


Background: Co-infection of hepatitis virus is common in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected adults in China. But little is known about hepatitis virus co-infection in pediatric HIV-infected subjects. The study aimed to investigate the impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and/or hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on liver function of pediatric HIV-infected subjects. Materials and Methods: A cohort study including 101 pediatric HIV-infected subjects with HBV/HCV co-infection and 44 pediatric comparators with HIV mono-infection was carried out in Henan Province of China from September 2011 to September 2012. All patients received HAART for 1-year. HBV and HCV infection was determined by antibody tests. HIV RNA load, CD4+ T-cell counts and liver function were determined before and after HAART. The Student’s t-test or a one-way ANOVA was used for normally distributed values and A Mann-Whitney U-test was performed for values without normal distribution using SPSS statistical package 18.0 (SPSS Inc.). Results: After HAART for 1-year, the median levels of viral load were decreased to lower limit of detection in 90.34% pediatric HIV-infected subjects with/without HBV/HCV co-infection (P < 0.001),and CD4+ T-cell counts increased significantly (P < 0.001). Compared with the pre-HAART, mean level of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in each group had a significant increase after HAART (P < 0.01). The mean levels of ALT and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in nevirapine (NVP) based HAART group increased significantly after HAART (P < 0.01). Mean change values of ALT and AST were significantly higher in the NVP based regimen group than in the efavirenz (EFV) based regimen group (P < 0.01). For HIV/HBV/HCV co-infected patients, mean change values of ALT and AST in NVP-based HAART group was significantly higher than that in EFV-based HAART group (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Highly active antiretroviral therapy can damage liver function in pediatric HIV-infected subjects, especially in those with HBV/HCV co-infection. NVP was more harmful to liver function of pediatric HIV infected subjects than EFV.

Key words: Co-infection, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, highly active antiretroviral therapy, human immunodeficiency virus,liver function, pediatric

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