Steatosis occurs frequently in hepatitis C. However, the mechanisms leading to this lesion are still unknown, and the role of steatosis in the progression of the disease remains controversial. The aim of the present paper was to determine the prevalence of steatosis in hepatitis C and its association with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype, viral load and the presence of risk factors for steatosis, and to analyze the association between steatosis and the intensity of liver disease.Methods
Patients infected with HCV who underwent liver biopsy were included. Patients coinfected with hepatitis B virus and/or human immunodeficiency virus and those previously treated for hepatitis C were excluded. The following risk factors for steatosis were investigated: obesity (body mass index [BMI] > 25 kg/m2), diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, alcoholism, and use of potential steatosis-inducing drugs. Histological analysis evaluated the presence of steatosis, the degree of periportal activity and staging. Patients with and without steatosis were compared regarding demographic, epidemiological, laboratory and histological characteristics. Logistic regression analysis was applied to identify variables that were independently associated with the presence of steatosis.Results
Ninety patients (55 men, 35 women) with a mean age of 45 ± 13 years were included. The prevalence of steatosis was 67%. Variables that remained independently associated with steatosis were age, female gender, obesity and genotype 3.Conclusions
The prevalence of steatosis in hepatitis C was high. Risk factors usually related to steatosis such as age, female gender and obesity, as well as genotype 3, were independently associated with the presence of steatosis. Steatosis was not independently associated with the intensity of histological liver disease.