Adipokines, insulin resistance, hepatic steatosis, and necroinflammation in patients with chronic viral hepatitis

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Background: Hypoadiponectinemia and hyperleptinemia, and reductions in the ratio of adiponectin to leptin (A/L ratio) are associated with the development of hepatic necroinflammation in nonalcoholic fatty liver, but the association of the adipokines with hepatic steatosis in chronic viral hepatitis is unclear.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between serum A/L ratio, insulin resistance, degree of hepatic steatosis, and necroinflammation in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.

Methods: We measured serum adiponectin, leptin, and resistin levels, insulin resistance, and analyzed the association between liver histopathology and the level of the adipokines in 44 patients with chronic viral hepatitis before they started treatment.

Results: We found that insulin resistance, leptin, and resistin levels tended to increase in the group with a greater degree of hepatic steatosis and necroinflammation, but that the increase was not significant. The adiponectin/leptin ratio (A/L ratio) in a group with a low degree of hepatic steatosis was significantly higher than it was in the group with a high degree of hepatic steatosis (3.1 ± 3.1 vs 1.2 ± 0.8; P = 0.008). The A/L ratio in a group with low histological activity index (HAI) scores was significantly higher than in the group with high HAI scores (3.7 ± 3.4 vs 1.1 ± 1.1; P = 0.006). Abdominal obesity was the only variable that showed a significant association with the HAI score (P = 0.03).

Conclusion: The serum A/L ratio in patients with chronic viral hepatitis showed a significant inverse association with their degree of hepatic steatosis and necroinflammation.

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