AIMTo study the relation between hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4 and microalbuminuria and renal impairment in relation to hepatic histology, and viremia in the absence of cryoglobulinemia, and to examine the effect of treatment on microalbuminuria.METHODSThree hundred subjects, including 233 HCV genotype-4 infected patients, were tested for cryoglobulinemia, microalbuminuria, albumin creatinine ratio (ACR), urea, creatinine, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The parameters were measured again in the HCV patients after 48 wk of treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin.RESULTSSignificantly higher levels of microalbuminuria were detected in HCV-positive patients compared to HCV-negative controls (median 9.5 vs 5.9, respectively, Kruskal-Wallis P = 0.017). Log microalbuminuria was significantly correlated with hepatic inflammation (r = 0.13, P = 0.036) and fibrosis (r = 0.12, P = 0.061), but not with viral load (r = -0.03, P = 0.610), or alanine transaminase (r = -0.03, P = 0.617). Diabetes mellitus neither significantly moderated (chi(2) = 0.13, P = 0.720), nor mediated (Sobel test P = 0.49) the HCV effect. HCV status was significantly associated with log microalbuminuria (chi(2) = 4.97, P = 0.026), adjusting for age, gender, diabetes, cryoglobulinemia, urea and creatinine. A positive HCV status was not significantly associated with low eGFR (< 60 mL/min every 1.73 m(2)) [odds ratio (OR): 0.5, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.2-1.4], nor with high ACR (OR: 1.7, 95% CI: 0.7-4.1). End-of-treatment response (ETR) was achieved in 51.9% of patients. Individuals with ETR had significantly lower microalbuminuria post-treatment (chi(2) = 8.19, P = 0.004).CONCLUSIONHCV affected the development of microalbuminuria independent of diabetes or cryoglobulinemia. Combination therapy of pegylated interferon-ribavirin had a positive effect in reducing microalbuminuria.