Manoj Kumar Sarma1, Rajakumar Nagarajan1, April Thames2, Jason Smith3, Lavezza Bhatti4, Steven Castellon2, 3, Charles H. Hinkin2, 3, M. Albert Thomas1
1Radiological Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 2Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 3VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare Service, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 4AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Neurological dysfunction has been observed in patients with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and growing body of evidence is showing that HCV may adversely affect cognition through direct central nervous system involvement. The standard method for HCV treatment is a combination of pegylated interferon (IFN) alfa and ribavirin, which can lead to a sustained viral suppression, notwithstanding adverse side effects. We examined the two diffusion parameters derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), namely mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA), across a group of HCV patients before and after IFN therapy using an automated atlas based analysis for regional parcellation. Twelve HCV patients treated with IFN therapy for 36-60 weeks were examined before and after anti-HCV therapy. Out of the 12 patients, 3 were non-responders to IFN therapy and 2 were missing data regarding virologic response. We have used the remaining 7 patients for our diffusivity analysis. We found primarily decreased MD and increased/decreased FA values in multiple brain regions following anti-HCV therapy. Our results suggest that HCV eradication has a beneficial effect on cerebral integrity, and is an important factor when contemplating anti-viral therapy in HCV.