Different mechanisms of steatosis in hepatitis C virus genotypes 1 and 3 infections


Jean-Michel Pawlotsky, Department of Virology, Hôpital Henri Mondor, 51 avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France. E-mail: jean-michel.pawlotsky@hmn.ap-hop-paris.fr


Summary.  This study reports evidence that hepatocellular steatosis, a frequent histological feature of chronic hepatitis C, is principally metabolic in hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1-infected patients, whereas it is principally virus-induced in HCV genotype 3-infected patients. Multivariate analysis of data on 176 patients with chronic hepatitis C revealed that the severity of steatosis was independently related to HCV RNA load alone in patients infected by HCV genotype 3, whereas it was independently related to the body mass index, daily alcohol intake and histological activity grade (but not viral load) in patients infected by HCV genotype 1. These findings suggest that steatosis is a cytopathic lesion induced by HCV genotype 3, whereas HCV genotype 1 is not steatogenic per se or at the usual in vivo expression levels.