Hepatitis C linked with diabetes

Tue, 09 Mar 2010
Hepatitis C has been linked in the past with increasing type 2 diabetes risk. Now, researchers in Australia have found that people with Hepatitis C often have a high level of insulin resistance, which precedes diabetes . The conclusion has surprised researchers, because insulin resistance occurs in muscle whereas Hep. C is a liver disease.

The study, published in Gastroenterology, was conducted by experts at the Sydney Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Storr Liver Unit at the University of Sydney. The two most important bodily organs that respond to insulin are the liver and muscle.

Lead researcher Professor Chisholm was reported as commenting: "Contrary to all expectations, not only did we find no significant insulin resistance in the liver of the patients in the study, half of them suffered from a strain of Hepatitis C that causes about three times the normal level of fat to accumulate in the liver. The fifteen people with very high levels of fat in the liver had the same degree of insulin resistance as the fourteen that didn't have fatty livers. A number of important investigators around the world have been arguing that fat in the liver is an extremely important determinant of insulin resistance, perhaps the most important. At least in this context, we've shown that not to be the case."
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