Background: It has been suggested that the addition of ribavirin (RBV) as a part of the treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) in HIV co-infected patients on didanosine (ddI) or stavudine (d4T) might increase the nucleoside-induced impairment of mitochondrial function. Design: Comparative study to investigate the impact on mitochondrial function of adding RBV to a long-term treatment with ddI, d4T or both in HCV/HIV non-cirrhotic, asymptomatic patients. We included 26 patients: 16 continued with their current antiretroviral therapy (control group) and 10 patients received a concomitant 24-week course of RBV plus pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) α-2b therapy (HCV-treated group). Methods: We assessed peripheral blood mononuclear cells mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) function at baseline and at 24 weeks of follow-up. In the HCV-treated group we performed additional determinations at 12 weeks during anti-HCV therapy and 24 weeks after finishing anti-HCV therapy. Results: Times on ddI or d4T exposure were 194 ± 54.9 and 131 ± 66.5 weeks in the HCV-treated and control groups, respectively. There were no differences either in mtDNA content, the enzyme activity of MRC complexes or clinical parameters at baseline. Throughout the study, mitochondrial measurements remained stable within groups and without differences when we compared HCV-treated and control groups. Conclusions: In our study, the addition of RBV and PEG-IFN during a 24-week period in HCV/HIV non-cirrhotic, asymptomatic patients on long-term ddI, d4T or both had no impact on mitochondrial function. These findings could suggest that additional triggers are required to achieve a critical threshold in the degree of mitochondrial damage needed for symptoms to develop.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2004|