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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Apr;90(4):2240-3. Epub 2005 Jan 11.

Decreased plasma adiponectin concentrations are closely related to steatosis in hepatitis C virus-infected patients.

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Service de Diab├ętologie et d'Endocrinologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire du Bocage, Boite Postale 77908, 21079 Dijon Cedex, France.



The mechanisms underlying steatosis during hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are complex and multifactorial. Obesity is a well-recognized risk factor for the development of steatosis in chronic hepatitis C infection. The aim of our study was to investigate the role of adipocytokines in HCV-related steatosis. Therefore, we hypothesized that the endocrine function of adipose tissue could be, in part, responsible for HCV-related steatosis. Seventy-one consecutive untreated chronic hepatitis C patients were studied to assess the effects of adipocytokines, body mass index (BMI), age, and HCV genotype on steatosis. We used ELISA to determine serum adiponectin, leptin, and soluble TNF receptors I and II concentrations.


Steatosis was observed in 42 (59.1%) patients. BMI was significantly associated with leptin (r = 0.64; P = 0.0001) and was border significantly associated with adiponectin concentrations (r = -0.22; P = 0.06). In univariate analyses, age, HCV genotype 3, BMI, increased leptin level, increased insulin level, and decreased adiponectin concentration were associated with steatosis. In multivariate analysis, steatosis was significantly associated with low adiponectin concentration, age, HCV genotype 3, and aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT) level, whereas steatosis was not associated with leptin, insulin, and BMI.


In chronic HCV patients, hypoadiponectinemia is significantly associated with the development of liver steatosis. The fact that the plasma levels of adiponectin inversely correlate with steatosis in HCV-infected subjects suggests that hypoadiponectinemia may contribute to hepatic steatosis progression and liver injury in this population. One practical implication is that therapy to increase circulating adiponectin concentration, such as overweight reduction or thiazolidinediones, provides the potential to improve steatosis in chronic hepatitis C infection.

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