Hepatitis C, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory markers: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES III]

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2007 Mar;75(3):320-6. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2006.07.008. Epub 2006 Aug 17.


Studies have shown that hepatitis C (HCV) is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) possibly due to insulin resistance and inflammation. Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for DM2. Our objectives were to assess the relationship between HCV and metabolic syndrome and inflammatory markers. We used data from The Third National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey (NHANES-III). We excluded pregnant women, subjects with diabetes, those taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and those diagnosed with concomitant infection. We analyzed the data controlling for demographic variables, body mass index, use of contraceptives, had arthritis, and had gout. Among the 10,383 subjects, 2.3% had HCV and 16.7% had metabolic syndrome using the ATP III criteria. After controlling for the confounders, HCV was not associated with metabolic syndrome but associated with HOMA insulin resistance and inflammatory marker ferritin. Among subjects with both HCV and metabolic syndrome, the adjusted HOMA insulin level was higher than those without HCV and metabolic syndrome. In addition, the serum ferritin level was a strong predictor of HOMA insulin resistance. In clinical practice, serum ferritin can be obtained along with routine blood tests in any laboratory, and it has a potential to be a surrogate marker of insulin resistance in people with HCV and metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology
  • Racial Groups
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers