Weight Loss Improves Liver Abnormalities in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C
- View SourceWeight Loss Improves Liver Abnormalities in Patients With Chronic
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 24 - Steatosis and elevated liver
enzyme levels are a common finding in patients with chronic hepatitis
C. New study findings indicate that both of these abnormalities may
be improved by weight loss.
Apart from avoiding alcohol use, there have been few reports of
lifestyle changes that can improve hepatitis C liver disease.
However, in some patients with chronic hepatitis C, the pathogenesis
of steatosis appears similar to that seen in patients with
non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Namely, the steatosis is related
to the presence of visceral adiposity and elevated serum insulin
Based on this, Dr. E. E. Powell, from Princess Alexandra Hospital in
Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues decided to investigate if weight
loss would improve the steatosis and abnormal enzyme levels seen in
patients with chronic hepatitis C. The researchers' findings are
published in the July issue of Gut.
The study involved 19 patients with steatosis and chronic hepatitis C
who participated in a 3-month weight reduction program. Liver
histology was determined in 10 subjects before and after the weight
The subjects experienced a mean weight loss of 5.9 kg and mean waist
circumference reduction of 9.0 cm. In most patients, serum alanine
aminotransferase levels fell progressively as weight decreased.
Furthermore, a significant reduction in fasting insulin levels was
also observed (p < 0.002).
Nine patients experienced a reduction in steatosis and the extent of
improvement was directly related to the amount of weight loss (p =
0.005), the authors note. Moreover, the improvement was independent
of the viral genotype present. Five of these nine patients also
demonstrated a reduction in fibrosis.
"These results demonstrate for the first time that weight reduction
in patients with chronic HCV may reduce hepatic steatosis," the
investigators point out. "We believe that weight reduction may
provide an important new adjunct treatment strategy for patients with
chronic hepatitis C."
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