Effect of steatosis and inflammation on liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C

Liver Int. 2009 Feb;29(2):153-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2008.01779.x. Epub 2008 May 14.


Background/aims: The role of liver biopsy has been questioned in the management of patients with hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection. The aims of this study were to determine the impact of clinical parameters and degree of inflammation and steatosis on liver fibrosis.

Patients/methods: Clinical data and liver histology findings in 510 HCV patients were analysed.

Results: Hepatitis C virus genotype 1 (GT-1) was found in 38%, GT-2 in 15% and GT-3 in 45% of patients. In liver biopsy specimens, inflammation activity was present in 68%, increased fibrosis in 19% and marked steatosis in 17% of patients. Independent clinical risk factors for the increased fibrosis were patients' age at biopsy, body mass index (BMI) and duration of HCV. Steatosis and inflammation activity were independent histological risk factors for fibrosis only in GT-1; in GT-3, only inflammation correlated independently with fibrosis.

Conclusions: Age at liver biopsy, BMI and duration of HCV were independent risk factors for increased fibrosis in HCV patients. Steatosis as a risk factor for fibrosis is evident in GT-1. When scoring liver biopsies of HCV patients, the degree of steatosis should be included in addition to fibrosis and inflammation activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Body Mass Index
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / pathology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Genotype
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / genetics
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors