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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Jan;31(1):59-66. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001255.

Skeletal muscle mass depletion in patients with hepatitis C virus infection.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Meijo University.
Department of Liver, Biliary Tract and Pancreas Diseases, Fujita Health University, Aichi, Japan.



The aim was to assess the relationship between muscle mass depletion and chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.


We retrospectively evaluated abdominal computed tomography data for 611 patients. The participants included 302 patients with HCV infection and 309 patients with gallstones (as a control). The skeletal muscle mass at the level of the third lumber vertebra (L3) was measured from the computed tomography images and normalized for height to calculate the L3 skeletal muscle index (L3-SMI, cm/m). Statistical analysis was carried out separately for each sex, given that L3-SMI differs significantly between men and women.


L3-SMI showed no significant difference between chronic hepatitis patients and gallstone patients in either sex. L3-SMI was significantly lower in male cirrhotic patients than in those with chronic hepatitis (P<0.001). The Child-Pugh score was correlated negatively with L3-SMI in male patients with HCV-related cirrhosis (ρ=0.200, P=0.031). In addition, the BMI in both sexes was associated with L3-SMI in the gallstone and chronic hepatitis group, in the chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis group, and in the liver cirrhosis group.


Skeletal muscle mass is not affected by chronic HCV infection in patients without cirrhosis and decreases in accordance with liver disease progression in male patients with chronic HCV infection.

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