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J Viral Hepat. 2007 Sep;14(9):600-7.

Hepatitis C virus directly associates with insulin resistance independent of the visceral fat area in nonobese and nondiabetic patients.

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1
Division of Gastroenterology, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, Yokohama, Japan.

Abstract

Insulin resistance (IR) is known to be associated with the visceral adipose tissue area. Elucidation of the relationship between hepatitis C virus (HCV) and IR is of great clinical relevance, because IR promotes liver fibrosis. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that HCV infection by itself may promote IR. We prospectively evaluated 47 patients with chronic HCV infection who underwent liver biopsy. Patients with obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), or a history of alcohol consumption were excluded. IR was estimated by calculation of the modified homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index. Abdominal fat distribution was determined by computed tomography. Fasting blood glucose levels were within normal range in all the patients. The results of univariate analysis revealed a significant correlation between the quantity of HCV-RNA and the HOMA-IR (r = 0.368, P = 0.0291). While a significant correlation between the visceral adipose tissue area and the HOMA-IR was also observed in the 97 control, nondiabetic, non-HCV-infected patients (r = 0.398, P < 0.0001), no such significant correlation between the visceral adipose tissue area and the HOMA-IR (r = 0.124, P = 0.496) was observed in the patients with HCV infection. Multiple regression analysis with adjustment for age, gender and visceral adipose tissue area revealed a significant correlation between the HCV-RNA and the HOMA-IR (P = 0.0446). HCV is directly associated with IR in a dose-dependent manner, independent of the visceral adipose tissue area. This is the first report to demonstrate the direct involvement of HCV and IR in patients with chronic HCV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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