People infected with hepatitis C virus are at greater risk for Parkinson’s disease as compared to those who do not have the liver inflammation, according to a newly published research.
Previous study has suggested hepatitis C virus (HCV) can infect nerve cells or neurons and it can replicate in the central nervous system (CNS), referring the virus as neurotropic in nature. The latest research claimed that HCV can trigger death of neurons that secrete the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is a key contributor to Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers from China Medical University Hospital analyzed data involving 49,967 people with hepatitis and 199,868 individuals without it. Of the people with hepatitis, they were sub-grouped into those with hepatitis B, hepatitis C and those with both.
All participants were followed-up for an average of 12 years in order to monitor any signs of Parkinson’s disease. The survey showed that those with hepatitis C were 30% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those without hepatitis. Moreover, the team noted that participants with either hepatitis B, C or both had a similar Parkinson’s risk as compared to those without the viruses.
Many factors clearly play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease, including environmental factors. This nationwide study suggests that hepatitis caused specifically by the hepatitis C virus may increase the risk of developing the disease. More research is needed to investigate the link,” said Dr. Chia-Hung Kao, study author from Taiwan.
Hepatitis C is an infectious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, one of the five known hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E. HCV, an enveloped RNS virus, is most commonly transmitted through contact with blood from an infected person, primarily associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized equipment and transfusions.
In majority of the cases, the infection is often asymptomatic but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the vital organ and ultimately to liver cirrhosis. After many years, some of those with scarring will go on develop liver failure or liver cancer. IMAGE/Medscape