2018 Volume 77 Issue 4 Pages 261-266
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is well known as a cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and other liver diseases, and more than 30 additional extrahepatic virus-associated manifestations have been reported. More attention has been paid to HCV-associated encephalopathy resulting from HCV infection to the central nervous system. In the present study, we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate structural changes in the cerebral cortex of individuals with persistent HCV infections. The subjects were 11 patients with HCV infection and 18 controls. The cortical surface was reconstructed from brain MRI using the surface-based morphometry software FreeSurfer, and comparisons between the patients and the controls were made using by Query, Design, Estimate, and Contrast analysis. Significant decreases in the cortical surface area were found in the left middle temporal gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, left superior frontal gyrus, and right postcentral gyrus (P < 0.001), and a significant increase in cortical thickness was found in the right inferior parietal lobule (P < 0.001). In conclusion, structural changes in the cerebral cortex, primarily in the language areas of the cortex, were observed using MRI in patients with HCV infections, and these changes may reflect central nervous system disorder(s) resulting from chronic HCV infection.