Costentin C.E. et al (2011). Association of caffeine intake and histological features of chronic hepatitis C. Journal of Hepatology, 54: 1123-1129.

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The severity of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is modulated by host and environmental factors. Several reports suggest that caffeine intake exerts hepatoprotective effects in patients with chronic liver disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of caffeine consumption on activity grade and fibrosis stage in patients with CHC.

A total of 238 treatment-naïve patients with histologically-proven CHC were included in the study. Demographic, epidemiological, environmental, virological, and metabolic data were collected, including daily consumption of alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, and caffeine during the six months preceding liver biopsy. Daily caffeine consumption was estimated as the sum of mean intakes of caffeinated coffee, tea, and caffeine-containing sodas. Histological activity grade and fibrosis stage were scored according to Metavir. Patients (154 men, 84 women, mean age: 45±11 years) were categorized according to caffeine consumption quartiles: group 1 (<225 mg/day, n=59), group 2 (225-407 mg/day, n=57), group 3 (408-678 mg/day, n=62), and group 4 (>678 mg/day, n=60).

There was a significant inverse relationship between activity grade and daily caffeine consumption: activity grade>A2 was present in 78%, 61%, 52%, and 48% of patients in group 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively (p<0.001). By multivariate analysis, daily caffeine consumption greater than 408 mg/day was associated with a lesser risk of activity grade>A2 (OR=0.32 (0.12-0.85). Caffeine intake showed no relation with fibrosis stage.

Caffeine consumption greater than 408 mg/day (3 cups or more) is associated with reduced histological activity in patients with CHC. These findings support potential hepatoprotective properties of caffeine in chronic liver diseases.

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