Cryoglobulins and cryoglobulins secondary to hepatitis C virus infection

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Cryoglobulins are a mixture of immunoglobulins and complement components that precipitate at temperature lower than 37 C. Cryoglobulinaemia (CG) means the presence of cryoglobulins in a patient's serum, but it is also referring to an inflammatory syndrome that generally involves small to medium vessel vasculitis because of cryoglobulin containing immune complexes. Prior to the identification of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 1989, CG was largely termed 'essential' in patients who do not have associated lymphoproliferative disease or autoimmune disease. It is now recognized that up to 90% of patients with clinically evident CG have chronic HCV infection. The role of HCV in pathogenesis of CG and the treatment options are discussed in this chapter. Because HCV has a clear biological role in pathogenesis of CG in most patients, one must consider eradicating HCV with antiviral therapy. Interferon-based treatment reduces viral replication rate, inhibits lymphocyte proliferation and immunoglobulin synthesis, and improves immune complex clearance by enhancing macrophage activity. In terms of clinical response, the effectiveness of interferon-alpha is comparable to that observed in the management of HCV without CG. The latest development against the abnormal B-cell clone driven by HCV is the anti-CD 20 monoclonal antibody, rituximab. This agent has previously been shown activity in B-cell lymphomas and autoimmune disorders. However, because rituximab decreases anti-HCV antibody titers and increases viremia, long term effect of rituximab on the liver disease is not known.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAutoantibodies
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780444527639
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cryoglobulins and cryoglobulins secondary to hepatitis C virus infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this