Dietary Fructose Intake and Severity of Liver Disease in Hepatitis C Virus-infected Patients

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Abstract

Background and Goals:

Dietary fructose intake in the United States has been increasing, and fructose intake has been associated with the metabolic syndrome and hepatic steatosis. This study aimed to determine whether dietary fructose intake is associated with advanced hepatic fibrosis and inflammation in an hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected male population.

Study:

We conducted a cross-sectional study of HCV-infected male veterans. The main exposure variable was daily dietary fructose calculated from the National Cancer Institute Diet History Questionnaire and the main outcome variables were FibroSURE-ActiTest determined hepatic fibrosis (F0-F3=mild vs. F3/F4-F4=advanced) and inflammation (A0-A2=mild vs. A2/A3-A3=advanced). We examined this association in logistic regression adjusting for demographic, clinical, and other dietary variables.

Results:

Among 313 HCV+ males, 103 (33%) had advanced fibrosis and 89 (28%) had advanced inflammation. Median daily fructose intake was 46.8 g (interquartile range, 30.4 to 81.0). Dietary fructose intake across quartiles among males with advanced versus mild fibrosis was 21.4% versus 25.2%, 32.0% versus 24.8%, 24.3% versus 25.2%, and 22.3% versus 24.8%, respectively, and among males with advanced versus mild inflammation was 20.2% versus 25.5%, 41.6% versus 21.4%, 22.5% versus 25.9%, and 15.7% versus 27.2%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, there were no significant associations between daily fructose intake and advanced fibrosis. There was a significant association only between the second quartile of daily fructose intake (30 to 48 g) and advanced inflammation.

Conclusions:

There were no significant associations between dietary fructose intake and hepatic fibrosis risk, as assessed by FibroSURE, in HCV-infected males. Additional research is needed to clarify the potential role of fructose intake and HCV-related hepatic inflammation.

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