Researchers from San Francisco, California, USA, assessed the relative contribution of obesity, diabetes mellitus, and alcohol to steatosis in chronic hepatitis C.
They studied 297 consecutive patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who met inclusion criteria.
Alcohol consumption, demographics, and serologic tests were correlated with degrees of steatosis and fibrosis on liver biopsy.
| BMI and genotype 3a HCV infection are independent predictors of steatosis.
| Hepatology |
Liver biopsy specimens were also examined for evidence of significant alcohol or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) injury.
In univariate analysis, steatosis was found to correlate with type 2 diabetes mellitus and body mass index (BMI), but not with the intensity of alcohol intake.
In multivariate analysis, BMI and genotype 3a HCV infection were independent predictors of steatosis.
However, when patients with risk factors for NASH were excluded, genotype 3a infection was the only independent predictor of steatosis.
Steatosis and inflammation scores on liver biopsy were the only independent predictors of fibrosis.
Furthermore, significant alcohol or NASH injury was found in only 6% of biopsy specimens.
Alexander Monto, of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, concluded on behalf of his group, "Steatosis in HCV infection is associated with risk factors for NASH, particularly obesity, rather than alcohol consumption."