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Reuters Health Information (2007-08-13): Chronic HCV infection linked to glucose intolerance but favorable lipid profile


Chronic HCV infection linked to glucose intolerance but favorable lipid profile

Last Updated: 2007-08-13 13:34:11 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with glucose intolerance and, despite that, a favorable lipid pattern, according to findings published in the August issue of Gut. Furthermore, clearance of HCV seems to be facilitated by elevated triglycerides at the time of infection.

"Infection with HCV has been associated with alterations in lipid metabolism in some studies and type 2 diabetes in others," write Dr. Arnaud Fontanet, of Institut Pasteur, Paris, and colleagues.

To investigate further, the researchers examined the association between lipid profiles and diabetes and past and chronic HCV infection among residents of a rural village in Egypt. A total of 765 subjects were included in the study. Overall, 113 (14.8%) participants had chronic HCV infection and 67 (8.8%) had past infection.

After adjustment for age and sex, subjects with chronic HCV infection had lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides than those never infected (adjusted differences, -22.9 mg/dL, -19.0 mg/dL, and -26.2 mg/dL, respectively).

Compared to subjects never infected, those with past infections had higher triglyceride levels (adjusted difference +16.0 mg/dL), which the investigators call "an intriguing finding."

Diabetes was observed in 41 (5.4%) of the 754 participants. "Univariate odds ratio values of the association with diabetes were 2.62 and 1.95 for past infection and chronic infection, respectively, when compared with never infected," Dr. Fontanet's team reports. "Adjustment for the factors retained in the final multivariate model (age, family history of diabetes, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol level) strengthened these associations, with the adjusted OR being 3.18 and 3.05, respectively."

"The long-term follow-up of this population will reveal whether HCV infected subjects have a different cardiovascular risk compared with the general population," the researchers conclude.

Gut 2007;56:1105-1110.

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