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Brescia, Italy

Vigan M.,Hepatology Unit | Degasperi E.,University of Milan | Aghemo A.,University of Milan | Lampertico P.,University of Milan | Colombo M.,University of Milan
Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy

Introduction: Drugs targeting TNF-α biological activity are increasingly used for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and psoriasis. Since TNF-α is a mediator of the immune response against viral infections, use of TNF-α inhibitors in patients with concurrent HBV or HCV infection can promote viral reactivation and potentially fatal liver failure. Areas covered: This paper reviews TNF mechanisms of action in viral hepatitis B and C, recommendations for managing HBV and HCV-infected patients receiving treatment with anti-TNF drugs, safety and anti-TNF hepatotoxicity. Expert opinion: In hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers undergoing anti-TNF therapy, either anti-HBV treatment or prophylaxis is mandatory to prevent hepatitis reactivation, whereas HBsAg-negative antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) seropositive patients require watchful monitoring, only. Conversely, in HCV-infected patients, TNF-α inhibition by specific drugs is safe and could be even beneficial, as TNF-α pathways are involved in perpetuating liver inflammation and fibrosis progression in HCV. HBV- or HCV-infected patients should be referred to a hepatologist for expert clinical management whenever antiviral therapy is deemed necessary or hepatitis reactivation occurs. © 2012 Informa UK, Ltd. Source

Stickel F.,Hepatology Unit | Stickel F.,University of Bern | Seitz H.K.,University of Heidelberg
Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases

Among heavy drinkers with liver disease, the development of severe alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is a serious complication. Prognosis is grave and associated with a high mortality due to liver failure, hepatorenal syndrome or intractable sepsis. Clinically, AH presents as a syndrome of progressive inflammatory liver injury in patients with recent or ongoing heavy alcohol consumption. Although approximately 20% of alcoholics undergoing liver biopsy reveal histological features of AH, only a minority progress to severe AH with markedly elevated serum liver enzymes, jaundice and impaired liver function. To establish the diagnosis of AH, histology is recommended but not mandatory. Prognostic scores include the Maddrey's discriminant function, the model of end-stage liver disease, the Glasgow Alcoholic Hepatitis score, and the ABIC score. While the former scores identify patients at risk of death or the need for corticosteroids, the response to corticosteroid therapy can be assessed using the Lille model. Treatments include abstinence and enteral nutrition, while pharmacotherapy using corticosteroids either with or without N-acetylcysteine may be indicated for patients with severe AH. Pentoxifylline was found to reduce the risk of hepatorenal syndrome, but data on mortality are limited. Although considered a contraindication in most transplant centers, recent evidence indicates that carefully selected patients with AH could be good candidates for liver transplantation with a prognosis comparable to other indications. Source

Loggi E.,Institute for Research in Biomedicine | Loggi E.,University of Bologna | Gamal N.,University of Bologna | Bihl F.,Hepatology Unit | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of acute and chronic liver inflammation worldwide. The immune response against the virus represents a key factor in determining infection outcome, in terms of both viral clearance and the perpetuation of liver damage. Significant advances have recently been achieved regarding the functions of antiviral CD8+ T cells, leading to a better understanding of their abnormalities during chronic infection as well as the pathways to be manipulated to reverse the immune impairment of chronic infection. In this review, we aimed to analyse the patterns of adaptive immunity that develop during acute infection and the profiles in chronic infection. In addition to CD8+ T cells, which are the best-described subset to date, we reviewed and commented on the direct and indirect roles of CD4+ T cells and B cells. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Lampertico P.,University of Milan | Vigano M.,Hepatology Unit | Colombo M.,University of Milan
Liver International

Serum HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B, which is usually a late stage of chronic hepatitis B virus infection, is difficult to treat, because it is characterized by fluctuating alanine transaminase values resulting in hepatitis flares, accelerated progression to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Antiviral treatment, either long-term nucleot(s)ide therapy or 1-year administration of pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN), is therefore necessary to limit the course of the disease. A sustained virological response to PEG-IFN is achieved in approximately 1/4 of the patients, with significant rates of HBsAg seroclearance. While waiting for the results of several studies whose goal is to improve the long-term efficacy of PEG-IFN, the treatment strategy can be optimized by a careful selection of patients, discontinuation of PEG-IFN as early as possible in primary non-responders and extended therapy (up to 96 weeks) in responders. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Source

Vigano M.,Hepatology Unit | Lampertico P.,University of Milan | Colombo M.,University of Milan
Expert Opinion on Drug Safety

Several nucleos(t)ide analogs (NUC) are available for the management of patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). In most patients, NUC need to be administered on a long-term basis, thus increasing the risk of adverse effects. Adefovir dipivoxil (ADV), the first nucloeotide analog developed to treat CHB, may indeed cause nephrotoxicity. Areas covered: The pharmacokinetic mechanism of action, potential mechanism of renal damage and long-term safety profile of ADV in CHB patients have been reported. The current monitoring modalities, together with dosage adjustments, treatment of patients with ADV-related kidney impairment and the therapeutic algorithm in place at the authors' Liver Center are also summarized. Although, in short-term clinical trials, a daily dose of 10 mg of ADV was safe owing to a low rate of negligible nephrotoxic effects, the same dose may be associated with a usually reversible, proximal renal tubular toxicity as reflected by hypophosphatemia and elevated creatinine levels. Occasionally, Fanconi syndrome occurred in ADV-treated patients. Expert opinion: Renal function at baseline and during treatment should be carefully assessed in all patients receiving ADV to adjust the dose according to creatinine clearance, aimed to prevent or minimize nephrotoxicity. © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd. Source

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