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Selenium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance in patients with hepatitis C virus–related chronic liver disease

Abstract 

The relationship between selenium (Se) deficiency and insulin resistance has not much been established in persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, although Se deficiency is often observed in patients with liver cirrhosis. We hypothesized that the decreased serum Se levels were associated with the severity of hepatic fibrosis or insulin resistance in patients with HCV-related chronic liver disease (CLD). To test the hypothesis, 52 patients with HCV-related CLD including chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis were enrolled in this study. The severity of hepatic fibrosis was divided into 4 categories (F1 through F4) according to the new Inuyama classification. Insulin resistance was defined by the homeostasis model for assessment of insulin resistance value. Serum Se levels significantly declined in proportion to the severity of hepatic fibrosis and were positively correlated with serum albumin (r = 0.372, P = .0065) and zinc (r = 0.403, P = .0081) concentrations. Serum Se levels were also linked to glutathione peroxidase activities in the sera of the enrolled patients (r = 0.374, P = .0148). By contrast, serum Se levels were inversely correlated with the homeostasis model for assessment of insulin resistance values (r = ?0.304, P = .0338). However, serum Se levels were independent of HCV genotype and loads of HCV-RNA. These findings suggest that Se deficiency was associated with the severity of hepatic fibrosis in patients with HCV-related CLD and that Se deficiency was likely to be one of the factors contributing to insulin resistance in those patients. 

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