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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection increases the risk for osteoporosis but this relationship has not been investigated among multi-transfused patients with thalassemia major (TM). We cross-sectionally explored the association of HCV infection with bone mineral density (BMD), vitamin D, and bone turnover biomarkers in TM. We considered 130 TM patients (41.89 ± 5.49 years, 67 females) enrolled in the E-MIOT (Extension-Myocardial Iron Overload in Thalassemia) Network. BMD measurements taken at the lumbar spine, femoral neck and total hip were expressed as Z-scores, with a BMD Z-score ≤ -2.0 indicating low bone mass. Z-scores were not associated with gender, iron overload indices, vitamin D levels, and biochemical bone turnover markers, but decreased with aging and in presence of hypogonadism and were directly correlated with body mass index (BMI). The prevalence of low bone mass was 70.7 %. Three groups of patients were identified: 78 who never contracted the infection (group 0), 72 who cleared HCV (group 1), and 29 with chronic HCV infection (CHC) (group 2). All Z-scores progressively decreased according to HCV status from group 0 to group 2. Osteocalcin levels were significantly lower in groups 2 and 1 than in group 0. CHC patients were more likely to have low bone mass compared to HCV naive patients, after adjusting for age, BMI, hypogonadism, and pancreatic iron. In TM, CHC appears as one additive risk factor for low bone mass and osteocalcin may play a role in this association. Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Antonella Meloni, Laura Pistoia, Silvia Maffei, Paolo Ricchi, Tommaso Casini, Elisabetta Corigliano, Maria Caterina Putti, Liana Cuccia, Crocetta Argento, Vincenzo Positano, Alessia Pepe, Filippo Cademartiri, Cristina Vassalle. Bone status and HCV infection in thalassemia major patients. Bone. 2023 Apr;169:116671

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PMID: 36623757

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