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Risk factors for the development of diabetes mellitus in chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 4 infection


Dr Wassim Chehadeh, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, PO Box 24923, Safat 13310, Kuwait. Email:


Background and Aim:  A high occurrence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been reported in Kuwait and other countries. However, HCV genotype 4 has been underrepresented in all previous studies. Our aim was to investigate the viral and host risk factors associated with the development of T2D in patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 infection in the absence of liver fibrosis and steatosis.

Methods:  The study population consisted of 181 HCV-positive patients and 170 control HCV-negative patients with T2D.

Results:  The prevalence of HCV-patients with T2D was 39.8%. There was no significant association of T2D with gender, nationality, obesity, HCV viral load, or antiviral therapy. Older age (≥ 50 years) and family history of diabetes were the only independent risk factor for T2D in HCV patients. However, the median age and the prevalence of obesity in HCV-positive patients with T2D were significantly lower than those in diabetic HCV-negative patients. By following-up HCV-patients receiving antiviral drugs, a significant decrease of fasting plasma glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels was observed in diabetic patients who achieved a sustained viral response (SVR).

Conclusions:  The risk factors associated with the development of T2D in the general population cannot alone account for the high prevalence of T2D obtained in chronic HCV genotype 4 infection. In the absence of liver fibrosis and steatosis, the improvement in glycemic control obtained in SVR patients may imply direct involvement of HCV in the development of T2D.

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