Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and chronic hepatitis C (CHC) are associated with a measurable risk of insulin resistance (IR)/impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)/diabetes mellitus (DM). While loss of hepatic endocrine function contributes to liver cirrhosis in diabetic patients, onset and progression of IR/IGT to diabetes and exacerbation of incident hyperglycemia are ostensibly linked with chronic HCV infection. In this regard, the study by Chen J et al. appearing in Clinical Science (2020) (134(5) https://doi.org/10.1042/CS20190900) attempts to understand the mechanisms underlying the savaging effects of chronic HCV infection on insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells and hence diabetic onset. The study investigated the role of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38δ–protein kinase D (PKD)–golgi complex axis in impacting insulin exocytosis. It was inferred that an insulin secretory defect of pancreatic β-cells, owing to disrupted insulin exocytosis, to an extent explains β-cell dysfunction in HCV-infected or CHC milieu. HCV infection negatively regulates first-phase and second-phase insulin secretion by impinging on PKD-dependent insulin secretory granule fission at trans-golgi network and insulin secretory vesicle membrane fusion events. This commentary highlights the study in question, that deciphered the contribution of p38δ MAPK–PKD–golgi complex axis to β-cell dysfunction in CHC milieu. This pivotal axis proffers a formidable therapeutic opportunity for alleviation of double burden of glucose abnormalities/DM and CHC.

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