Hepatitis C and insulin action: An intimate relationship

World J Hepatol. 2016 Jan 18;8(2):131-8. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v8.i2.131.


Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been shown to be linked to a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes compared with the general population or with patients with chronic hepatitis B infection and diabetes is the most common extra-hepatic manifestation of HCV. The HCV-diabetes association is due to insulin resistance (IR) that occurs early in the course of the disease even in patients without or with minimal fibrosis. The mechanisms for HCV-induced IR are only partly understood and include a direct inhibitory effect of HCV on insulin signaling pathway. IR in chronic HCV results in an increased progression rate of hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Some but not all studies found that IR reduces the response rate to interferon/ribavirin therapy. Whether IR affects the response to the new direct-acting antiviral treatments is still unknown.

Keywords: Antiviral therapy; Hepatitis C; Insulin resistance; Insulin signaling; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review