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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-16

Insulin resistance and hepatitis C infection: a bidirectional relationship independent of diabetes and metabolic syndrome

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, New Damietta, Damietta Governorate, Egypt
2 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, New Damietta, Damietta Governorate, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Khaled N Elfayoumy
Assistant Professor of Endocrinology, Internal Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, New Damietta, Damietta, 34517; Al-Azhar University Hospital, New Damietta
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ejode.ejode_3_18

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Introduction Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is known to be associated with insulin resistance (IR). The latter occurs early in the course of the disease and adversely affect it. The mechanism of this association seems to be different from that occurring in the metabolic syndrome. The aim of the study was to test this relationship in non-diabetic patients with early cirrhosis who are not fulfilling the criteria of metabolic syndrome. Patients and methods This cross-sectional study, included 100 patients with Child A cirrhosis induced by HCV. The patients were subjected to clinical, laboratory, ultrasonographic, and endoscopic evaluation. On the basis of homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) categorization, the patients were divided into two groups, with and without IR. Results A total of 63 patients had a higher HOMA-IR score, hence assigned as group 1, with significant elevation of liver enzymes, less albumin levels and more esophageal varices than in group 2. In a cohort of patients previously eradicated from the virus, HOMA-IR is lower than the non-treated patients. Conclusion Even in the absence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, IR is evident in nearly two-thirds of patients having early HCV-induced cirrhosis. This link is associated with more inflammation of the liver and more drawbacks on the portal circulation. Sustained clearance of the virus improves insulin sensitivity.

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