Changes in Serum Lipids and other Biochemical Indices Associated with Liver Damage in Chronic Hepatitis B Infection

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Chronic hepatitis B infection affects nearly 400 million people who are at a risk of death by liver-related complications. The liver plays a vital role in lipid metabolism, hence its consequent degeneration following chronic hepatitis B infection could potentially provoke dyslipidemia. This study therefore, sought to evaluate the effect of the chronic hepatitis B infection on host serum lipid profile. A cross-sectional study was conducted on chronic hepatitis B patients, attending a specialist care at the Oncology Unit at the KATH, during a 9-month period. On the basis of serological and liver enzyme assays, participants were categorized as chronic symptomatic (HBcAb +ve, HBsAg +ve, HBV-DNA ≥ 103 copies/ml and serum AST and ALT ≥ 40 IU/l) or chronic asymptomatic (HBcAb +ve, HBsAg +ve, HBV-DNA ≤ 103 copies/ml, serum AST and ALT ≤ 40 IU/l) and a control group of apparently healthy individuals (HBcAb -ve, HBsAg -ve, serum AST and ALT ≤ 40 IU/l). The relationship between the patients’ HBeAg status and pathological stage of infection was evaluated using some indices of lipid metabolism – VLDL, LDL, HDL, triglyceride, and total serum cholesterol, using Chi-square (Χ2) analysis. Fifty seven (57) participants fulfilled the inclusion criteria consisting of 41 males (62.9%) and 16 females (37.1%) (p=1.000). Ten (10) of the patients (17.5%) showed active chronic HBV infection (HBeAg +ve) while 47 patients (82.5%) were inactive chronic carriers of the infection (HBeAg-ve) (p=0.1718). Serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower among the chronic HB-infected population, compared to the healthy control (p=0.0051). Serum cholesterol, LDL, HDL, total cholesterol/HDL and HDL/LDL ratios were unaffected by the disease. This work has shown that serum triglyceride is lowered in chronic hepatitis B infection.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry & Biotechnology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment for the requirement for the degree of Master of Philosophy College of Science. 2013