Monday, March 7, 2011

Hepatitis Associated Aplastic Anemia

Hepatitis-associated aplastic anemia (HAAA) is the onset of chronic aplastic anemia after an infection of hepatitis. Aplastic anemia is where bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells. Unlike more common forms of anemia (which typically only deplete red blood cell counts), HAAA causes pancytopenia (where red bloods cells, white blood cells, and platelets are all depleted).  Recent research has linked hepatitis viruses (hepitis A, B, C, D, E, and G) to this complication. Studies of HAAA show a direct correlation with immune dysfunction, and thus implicate HAAA as n “immune mediated mechanism.” Patients affected by HAAA are usually treated with BM transplants or hematopoietic cell transplants.  HAAA, though serious by itself, can also give rise to susceptibly to many other infectious agents, as it reduces the capabilities of the immune system.  It has also been shown that telomerase mutation is also a genetic factor that predisposes patients to aplastic anemia.  Telomerase adds non-coding DNA repeats to the end of chromosomes, in order to prevent the loss of genetic information.  Perhaps there is a connection between telomerase mutation and Hepatitis infection.


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