Conflicting data exist regarding the relationship between hepatitis C virus genotype 1 and hepatic steatosis as well as the latter's role in the progression of fib rosis and treatment response. We assessed factors associated with hepatic steatosis in genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C and the impact of hepatic fat on fibrosis development and interferon responsiveness. Two hundred ninety-one non-diabetic patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C were examined for the presence of steatosis and its correlation with clinical, virological, and biochemical data, including insulin resistance (IR), evaluated by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) score. Steatosis was graded as mild (1%-20% of hepatocytes involved), moderate (21%-40% of hepatocytes involved), and severe (>40% of hepatocytes involved). Steatosis was mild in 110 of 291 (37.8%) and moderate/severe in 55 of 291 (18.9%) subjects. By logistic regression, moderate/severe steatosis was independently associated with the female sex (odds ratio [OR] 2.74; 95% CI 1.40-5.35), high γ- glutamyltransferase levels (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.22-1.91), and HOMA-score (OR 1.076; 95% CI 1.001-1.26). By logistic regression, moderate/severe steatosis (OR 2.78; 95% CI 1.21-6.4), and platelet counts (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.96-0.98) were independent predictors of advanced fibrosis. Patients with moderate/severe steatosis had an OR of 0.52 (95% CI 0.30-0.90) for sustained virological response compared with patients with mild/absent steatosis. In conclusion, in nondiabetic European patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C at low risk for the metabolic syndrome, the prevalence of steatosis was nearly 60%. IR is a risk factor for moderate/severe steatosis, especially in men. Moderate/severe steatosis has clinical relevance, being associated with advanced fibrosis and hyporesponsiveness to antiviral therapy.
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