Evaluation of brain volume alterations in HCV-infected patients after interferon-free therapy: A pilot study.


Department of General Radiology, Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology, Radiology, Wroclaw Medical University, Borowska 213, 50-556 Wroclaw, Poland. Electronic address: [Email]


The study was performed to evaluate cerebral volume changes in HCV-infected subjects before and after interferon-free therapy with direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA). We aimed also to estimate the impact of successful DAA therapy on the neuropsychological state of patients. Eleven HCV genotype 1 (GT1) patients treated with ombitasvir/paritaprevir (boosted with ritonavir) and dasabuvir, with or without ribavirin underwent brain magnetic resonance (MR) before and 24 weeks after completion of therapy. All patients achieved sustained viral response. Precise automatic parcellation was made using the fully-available software FreeSurfer 6.0. Statistically significant volume deceleration six months after treatment was found in the subcallosal cingulate gyrus, transverse frontopolar gyri and sulci, anterior segment of the circular sulcus of the insula and horizontal ramus of the anterior segment of the lateral sulcus. After DAA therapy we found statistically significant improvement in the performance of all three tasks of the Rey Complex Figure Test that permits the evaluation of different functions (attention, planning, working,memory). Additionally, significant amelioration in Percentage Conceptual Level Responses in The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (a neurocognitive test for assessing intellectual functioning) was also discovered. Successful interferon-free therapy may lead to transient cerebral atrophy, probably by reducing neuroinflammation and oedema. This is the first pilot study of the alterations in brain volume after successful interferon-free therapy in chronic HCV patients. Longitudinal follow-up study is needed to observe further effects of therapy on cerebral structures volume changes.


Brain volumetry,Interferon-free therapy,Magnetic resonance imaging,Neurocognitive dysfunction,Pseudoatrophy,hepatitis C virus,

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