Background Increased levels of adiponectin, a major adipokine with insulin sensitizing properties showing a strong sexual dimorphism, have been reported in individuals with chronic HCV infection (CHC), but data are limited by small samples and lack of control for the genetic background and hepatic fibrosis. The aim of this study was to compare adiponectin levels between CHC patients and accurately matched controls. Methods We considered 184 CHC patients, matched (1:1) for age, gender, body mass index, and Adiponectin genotype (ADIPOQ) with healthy individuals. To control for the severity of liver disease, a second control group consisting of 95 patients with histological nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) further matched (1:1) for severe fibrosis was exploited. ADIPOQ genotype was evaluated by Taqman assays, serum adiponectin measured by ELISA. Results Serum adiponectin was higher in CHC patients than in healthy individuals (9.0 ± 5.0 μg/ml vs. 7.3 ± 4.0 μg/ml; p = 0.001; adjusted estimate + 1.8, 1.7-2.9; p = 0.001), and than in NAFLD patients (8.3 ± 4.5 μg/ml vs. 6.0 ± 4.2 μg/ml; p <0.001; adjusted estimate + 0.8, 0.2-1.4, p = 0.006). After stratification for sex, serum adiponectin was higher in males with CHC than in healthy individuals and NAFLD patients (p <0.005 for both), whereas the difference was not significant in females. Conclusions CHC is associated with increased serum adiponectin independently of age, body mass, diabetes, ADIPOQ genotype, and of severe liver fibrosis, particularly in men.
- Hepatic fibrosis
- Hepatitis C virus
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine