Risk factors for the development of diabetes mellitus in chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 4 infection

Wassim Chehadeh, Nabila Abdella, Abdullah Ben-Nakhi, Monira Al-Arouj, Widad Al-Nakib
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2009, 24 (1): 42-8

BACKGROUND AND AIM: A high occurrence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been reported in Kuwait and other countries. However, HCV genotype 4 has been underrepresented in all previous studies. Our aim was to investigate the viral and host risk factors associated with the development of T2D in patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 infection in the absence of liver fibrosis and steatosis.

METHODS: The study population consisted of 181 HCV-positive patients and 170 control HCV-negative patients with T2D.

RESULTS: The prevalence of HCV-patients with T2D was 39.8%. There was no significant association of T2D with gender, nationality, obesity, HCV viral load, or antiviral therapy. Older age (>or= 50 years) and family history of diabetes were the only independent risk factor for T2D in HCV patients. However, the median age and the prevalence of obesity in HCV-positive patients with T2D were significantly lower than those in diabetic HCV-negative patients. By following-up HCV-patients receiving antiviral drugs, a significant decrease of fasting plasma glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels was observed in diabetic patients who achieved a sustained viral response (SVR).

CONCLUSIONS: The risk factors associated with the development of T2D in the general population cannot alone account for the high prevalence of T2D obtained in chronic HCV genotype 4 infection. In the absence of liver fibrosis and steatosis, the improvement in glycemic control obtained in SVR patients may imply direct involvement of HCV in the development of T2D.

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