Health Care Center, Fukuoka University, 8-19-1 Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan.
It has been reported that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is closely associated with hepatic metabolic disorders. Hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance are both relatively common in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Recent investigations suggest that HCV infection changes the expression profile of lipid-metabolism-associated factors in the liver, conferring advantages to the life cycle of HCV. Moreover, insulin resistance and steatosis are independent predictors of impaired response to antiviral treatment in chronic hepatitis C. In this paper, we summarize our current knowledge of hepatic metabolic disorders and describe how HCV leads to and exploits these hepatic disorders. We also discuss the clinical significance of insulin sensitizers used to improve insulin resistance and lipid modulators used to manage lipid metabolism as potential treatment options for chronic hepatitis C.