The results of a study, reported in Gastroenterology (March 2004), indicate that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can directly cause insulin resistance. Japanese researchers found that the HCV infection is connected to type 2 diabetes. A definite causeand- effect relationship, however, has not been proven.
The researchers examined the development of diabetes using mice that had been bred to carry the main gene of HCV. They found that excessive insulin levels were obvious in mice "as early as 1 month old." Insulin resistance was seen by the age of 2 months. Also, giving glucose to these mice led to only minor glucose intolerance, but when the animals were given a high-fat diet they developed overt diabetes.