Mitochondrial genotoxicity of hepatitis C treatment among people who inject drugs

Antiviral nucleoside analogues (ANA) are newly used therapeutics acting against the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This class of drug is well known to exhibit toxicity on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). People who inject drugs (PWID) are particularly affected by HCV infection and cumulated mitotoxic drug exposure from HIV treatments (antiretrovirals, ARV) and other illicit drugs. This study aims to explore the impact of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatments on mtDNA among PWID. A total of 470 actively injecting heroin users were included. We used quantitative PCR on whole blood to determine the mitochondrial copy number per cell (MCN) and the proportion of mitochondrial DNA deletion (MDD). These parameters were assessed before and after DAA treatment. MDD was significantly increased after HCV treatment, while MCN did not differ. MDD was even greater when subjects were cotreated with ARV. In multivariate analysis, we identified that poly-exposure to DAA and daily heroin injection or regular consumption of methamphetamines were positively associated with high MCN loss while DAA and ARVĀ  treatments or methadone use were identified as risk factors for having mtDNA deletion. These observations deserve attention since they were previously associated with premature cell ageing or cell transformation and therefore call for a long-term follow-up.

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Full citation:
Durand M, Nagot N, Quynh BTN, Vallo R, Linh LTT, Huong DT, Binh NT, Rapoud D, Quillet C, Hong TT, Michel L, Tranh NTT, Oanh KTT, Vinh VH, Feelemyer J, Perre PV, Des Jarlais D, Khue PM, Laureillard D, Moles JP (2021).
Mitochondrial genotoxicity of hepatitis C treatment among people who inject drugs
Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10 (21), 4824. doi: 10.3390/jcm10214824. PMCID: PMC8584601.