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J Hepatol. 2005 Dec;43(6):929-36. Epub 2005 Jul 1.

Adiponectin and its receptors in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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School of Medicine, Southern Division, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.



There is increasing interest in the influence of excess body weight and associated metabolic factors on the liver. In patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, lower levels of adiponectin were associated with higher grades of hepatic steatosis and necroinflammatory activity, suggesting a pathophysiological role for this adipokine in liver disease.


We studied 194 consecutive patients with untreated chronic HCV, to assess the relationship between adiponectin and its receptors and hepatic steatosis, fibrosis and inflammation.


Significant negative correlations between serum adiponectin and male gender, body mass index and serum insulin were observed. However, there was no association between serum adiponectin and stage of fibrosis and lower levels of serum adiponectin were associated with the presence of steatosis in males only. In contrast, there was a significant increase in serum adiponectin and hepatic adiponectin immunoreactivity with increasing inflammation. The hepatic mRNA expression of the adiponectin receptors, AdipoR1 and AdipoR2, displayed significant but opposite associations with phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) gene expression, a substitute marker of hepatic insulin sensitivity.


In patients with chronic HCV, adiponectin was associated with steatosis only in males and was paradoxically increased with inflammation. Our results suggest that the role of adiponectin in chronic liver diseases may be linked to gender and etiology.

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