Insulin resistance, steatosis and hepatitis C virus

Abstract

Epidemiological studies have shown an increased occurrence of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance (IR) and steatosis in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. IR is believed to represent one of the central clinical features of the "metabolic syndrome" and the major pathogenetic factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus. In patients with chronic HCV hepatitis, IR may have several dangerous consequences such as accelerated progression of liver fibrosis, resistance to antiviral therapy and development of hepatocellular carcinoma. According to recent evidence, the global epidemic of metabolic disorders related to incorrect diets will lead physicians to deal with 1.2 billion patients with diabetes in the world in 2025. Given the high prevalence of HCV infection in several countries, metabolic manifestations will contribute to increasing morbidity and mortality in patients with HCV chronic infection in the near future. HCV treatment, shown able to decrease both the occurrence of HCV-related IR and diabetes, may reduce the risk of the associated morbidities.

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