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J Hepatol. 1999 Aug;31(2):215-20.

Effects of long-term interferon-alpha treatment on glucose tolerance in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Matsunami General Hospital, Kasamatsu, Gifu, Japan.



Interferon-a has been reported to acutely induce insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. The effects of long-term treatment with interferon-a on glucose metabolism remain unclear.


Thirty-two Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C were given interferon-a (6x10(6)U/day) daily for 2 weeks and thereafter 3 times weekly up to 6 months. The patients received a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test before the treatment. Fifteen patients also had an intravenous glucose tolerance test for an assessment of insulin sensitivity with Bergman's minimal model. These tests were repeated 3 months after the treatment.


Insulin sensitivity was not affected by the treatment (5.7+/-3.8 vs 5.2+/-3.8 10(-4) x min(-1) x mU(-1) x l , not significant) and a statistically significant but minimum decrease in area under the curve of plasma glucose (1012+/-332 vs 928+/-282 mmol x l(-1) x min, p<0.01) in a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test was noted. Acute insulin response to intravenous glucose tolerance tests (214+/-275 vs 294+/-334 mU x l(-1) x min, p<0.05) increased slightly.


Contrary to the known acute metabolic effects, interferon-a therapy for 3 months in patients with chronic hepatitis C did not have deleterious effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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