How Hepatitis C Affects Human Liver
Hepatitis C is a chronic viral inflammation of the liver that can cause temporary or permanent liver damage. The liver damage at first in the form of liver inflammation gradually leading to scarring or fibrosis Hepatitis C Affects Human Liver.
Hepatitis C can cause the death of liver cells. This might be due to either virus-killing liver cells or immune system response to infected liver cells. Recent research shows that its combination of both factors but immune system response seems more pronounced causing much damage. The death of liver cells causes inflammatory changes in the human liver. That in turn causes enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly). Liver enlargement seen in about 60% of patients and the leading cause of persistent pain in the liver area.
Inflammation triggers the processes that lead to fibrosis. Fibrosis is not a disease but is a condition caused by the body’s response to liver damage. Specific liver cells called stellate cells are triggered by Inflammation. These cells store fat and vitamin A when the liver is in a healthy condition. These cells are also responsible for blood flow regulation within the liver Hepatitis C Affects Human Liver. But when the liver inflamed by the presence of hepatitis C, a reaction occurs amongst different liver cells. This reaction leads stellate cells to dispense with vitamin A, altering their function.
Infected and inflamed liver cells:
Infected and inflamed liver cells release chemical signals called ‘cytokines’. These chemicals cause the activation of white blood cells outside the liver. The activated white blood cells travel to the liver and there in combination with specialized white cells of the liver, produce further chemical signals. These signals cause stellate cells to begin producing and laying down collagen fibers. In the extracellular matrix, which is the area between the cells.
Collagen, a fibrous protein:
Collagen, a fibrous protein is fundamental to the formation of scar tissue. The human body has the protective mechanism of limiting infection and healing of injured areas. For this purpose it uses collagen. In normal conditions when the particular injured area is healed or infection resolved the collagen is dissolved and removed from that area. The activated stellate cells then die off, allowing the tissue to return to normal. But in chronic hepatitis C, the collagen matrix grows too fast and cannot be properly dissolved. Resulting in scar tissue build up around the cells. This prevents liver cells from getting vital nutrients and oxygen from blood so they die rapidly. A never-ending cycle starts in which inflammation and fibrogenic cells stimulate each other leading to increased fibrosis.
Free Radicals and Fibrosis:
A further possible cause of fibrosis due to damage by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemical substances. They are the by-product of a cell’s normal reactions such as energy generation and the breakdown of fats. During these reactions, oxygen is transformed into the free radical superoxide. Cells with normal physiological function protection mechanisms to protect themselves from damage. Effects of free radicals but if free radicals in high concentration or cells have lost normal function. Then free radicals can cause havoc Hepatitis C Affects Human Liver.
Free radicals much concerned with hepatitis C patients due to the following reasons.
- Chronic liver inflammation may lead to over-production of free radicals within the liver.
- There is evidence that free radicals play a role in liver fibrosis. Free radicals can chemically alter fat in the body. This called lipid peroxidation. The free radicals attack the cell membrane and can injure and eventually kill cells. If this happens to liver cells, it will lead to fibrosis.
- When the liver function is already impaired and there an overload of iron, the free radicals may interact with the iron causing further damage.
The liver tissues wonderful potential to regenerate, so why they do not regenerate in Hepatitis C infection.
Hepatitis C causes slow tissue damage and progressing scarring. Our liver two protective mechanisms against any damaging factor. Either their regeneration with complete restoration of the liver structure and function or there sustained scarring of liver tissue leading to damage. When the liver damaged by a single strong injury such as in donating a part of the liver. Regeneration highly likely even if a large area affected. But if the injury repetitive and the liver does not have enough time for healing from a previous injury and next injury ensues. As the case with hepatitis C infection – the liver cannot effectively cope. It does not the time and space to heal and regenerate.
Hepatitis C in Pakistan
Pakistan is enduring an HCV epidemic of historical proportions—one in every 20 Pakistanis already infected. With this infection playing a major role in liver disease burden in this country. HCV prevalence high in all risk populations with most transmission apparently driven by healthcare procedures Hepatitis C Affects Human Liver. Malpractice, misdiagnosis, use of nonsterile surgical and dental equipment, and using a single syringe more than once all are largely contributing factors. Drug abusers, sex workers, and malnourished children are high-risk groups.
More about Hepatitis C:
We strive for community awareness against Hepatitis C and urge the government to make HCV treatment and prevention of national priority in Pakistan. Although the country has made efforts to increase coverage of safe injection and blood screening and to improve infection control commitment to prevention in all segments of the healthcare system, including the private sector, still the target of the complete elimination of hepatitis C seems very distant.
Dr. Faisal Dar Clinic is the most reliable and most professional liver clinic, where satisfactory diagnostic and treatment facilities of international standards are offered. For any information regarding hepatitis C and how it affects liver health, please feel free to contact us,
Dr. Faisal Dar (Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute, Lahore)
Call us at: 0341–0543883, 042-111 117 554