Background: Association between Chronic Hepatitis C virus (CHC) infection and type 2
diabetes mellitus has been challenging in recent decades. Despite of extensive research in this area,
there is no general agreement on the direct effect of HCV infection on insulin resistance.
Patients and Methods: The study was performed in 52 CHC patients (mean age = 39.48) and 52
sex-matched healthy Iranian controls, referred to the Hepatitis Clinic, Department of Gastroenterohepatology,
Shiraz University of medical sciences, Shiraz, Iran, from 2012 to 2015. Fasting blood glucose
level, fasting insulin level and insulin resistance defined as a Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin
Resistance (HOMA-IR) index were determined and compared between two groups.
Results: Insulin resistance was present in 26.9% of CHC patients and 34.62% of healthy controls. Mean
HOMA index was 1.93 in patients and 2.18 in controls. There were no statistically significant differences
between patient and control groups with regard to fasting insulin level, fasting blood glucose,
HOMA index and insulin resistance. HOMA index and fasting insulin level were significantly higher in
IR CHC patients relative to IR controls. Fasting blood glucose was also significantly higher in controls
younger than 40 years.
Conclusion: Results obtained in this study showed that chronic hepatitis C cannot be considered as a risk
factor for insulin resistance and diabetes in Iranian population. However, regular screening for insulin resistance
is recommended in CHC patients with age ≥ 40 years and fasting blood glucose ≥ 100 mg/dl.