New data suggest hepatitis C infection, but not hepatitis B infection, increases the prevalence of diabetes in patients who undergo kidney transplants.
Patients who are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) prior to receiving a kidney transplant face a higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes in the years following the procedure, according to new research.
However, the same study found no such association between preoperative Hepatitis B virus and new-onset diabetes after transplantation (NODAT).
The assessment of a retrospective study involving 557 Chinese patients who underwent transplants between 1993 and 2014. Patients with preoperative HCV were 3.03 times more likely to develop NODAT than the control group, according to investigators.
“An increased incidence of diabetes in HCV-infected subjects was first noted in 1994,” wrote corresponding author Mingxiang Yu, PhD, of Fudan University, and colleagues. “Since then, the association between HCV infection and incident diabetes has been widely examined in different populations.”
Earlier research suggested that liver transplant recipients had significantly higher rates of diabetes if they also had HCV. However, Yu and colleagues said kidney transplant data was less conclusive.
All told, 21.5% of the patients in Yu’s study went on to develop diabetes following their transplants (median follow-up time = 7.5 years). In addition to finding that patients with HCV infection were more likely to develop NODAT, the authors also found that patients co-infected with HBV and HCV faced an increased incidence of NODAT. However, further analysis suggested that it was the presence of HCV infection, rather than the co-infection itself, that appeared to make diabetes more likely.
The authors said the underlying mechanism linking NODAT to HCV in kidney transplant recipients remains a mystery. However, they laid out some theories.
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