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High Triglyceride Levels Linked to Clearance of Hepatitis C

Study also links hepatitis C with favorable lipid profiles

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals exposed to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) may demonstrate favorable lipid profiles despite the association to glucose intolerance. Furthermore, patients with elevations in triglycerides may have an increased ability to clear the virus, according to study findings published in the August issue of Gut.

Deya Marzouk, M.D., of Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and colleagues measured lipid and glucose profiles of 765 subjects between the ages of 25 and 88 (59.6 percent female; median age 40) in the lower Nile region of Egypt. The study compared participants who had never been infected with HCV to profiles of participants who had cleared past infections (8.8 percent) or who were chronically infected (14.8 percent).

After adjusting for age and sex, the study found triglyceride levels were substantially lower in participants with chronic HCV infections than in participants who were not infected (102 versus 121 milligrams per deciliter), while participants who had cleared infections showed substantially higher triglyceride levels (140 mg/dL) than either of those groups. The study also found that chronic HCV infection was associated with glucose intolerance as well as with lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and elevated high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

"It is clear that lipids are important in the interaction of HCV with its host," writes Stephen Ryder, M.D., of Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals in the United Kingdom, in an accompanying editorial. "Before we can say that high triglyceride levels are important factors in our ability to clear this infection, we will require more data from other cohorts and a better understanding of the potential sites of interaction of HCV with lipids and their receptors on hepatocytes."

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