HCV Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

DG DISPATCH - ISVHLD: Hepatitis C Infection Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
By Emma Patten

ATLANTA, GA -- April 14, 2000 -- Type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus) may be associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to researchers at the 10th International Symposium on Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease (ISVHDL).

Shruti Mehta, a doctoral student at the School of Hygiene & Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD., and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University, examined data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted between 1988-1994 in the US. Of the 9,841 subjects over the age of 20 who were assessed for diabetes and HCV infection, 1,242 (8.4 percent) had diabetes (type 1 and type 2) and 230 (2.1 percent) were anti-HCV positive.

After adjusting for factors such as age, race, and socioeconomic status, the researchers found that HCV-infected subjects were four times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than those without HCV infection (adjusted odds ratio 3.77; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.80-7.87).

They found no association, however, between HCV infection and type 1 diabetes. Similarly, they found no association between hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and diabetes type 1 or 2.

Suggesting a cause for the association, Mehta told Doctor's Guide that "it might be a combination of factors that produce this association. Hepatitis C virus has been shown to replicate outside the liver and in the pancreas so it could be that HCV may be causing some concomitant beta cell dysfunction."

Mehta could not confirm whether the fact that diabetics have to inject themselves could cause HCV transmission or if HCV transmission caused beta cell dysfunction and, consequently, diabetes. "We're not sure what the mechanisms are or which condition causes which," she said.

"Providers should consider screening persons with one condition for the other since the adverse outcomes of each can be medically prevented," she added.

SOURCE: Doctor's Guide to Medical News <http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/1ccfe6.htm>


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