[Clinical and histological features of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease]

Jun-ping Shi, Yun-hao Xun, Chen-bo Hu, Li Zhang, Hong Liu, Guo-qiang Lou, Jian-gao Fan
Zhonghua Gan Zang Bing za Zhi, Zhonghua Ganzangbing Zazhi, Chinese Journal of Hepatology 2009, 17 (11): 812-6

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the clinical and histological features in Chinese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

METHODS: 108 patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD were enrolled in this study. Clinical, demographic, and biochemical data were compared between NAFLD patients with abnormal ALT and those with normal ALT.

RESULTS: Simple fatty liver, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis(NASH) and cirrhosis were diagnosed in 49 (45.4%), 57(52.7%) and 2 (1.9%) patients, respectively. ALT and AST levels of NASH group were higher than those of simple fatty liver group (t = 2.55, 3.13; P = 0.01, 0.00). Fifty of the 77 patients (64.9%) with abnormal ALT levels were diagnosed as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and twenty-six were diagnosed as simple fatty liver, according to liver histology. Among the 31 patients with normal ALT levels, nine (29%) had NASH and twenty-two had simple fatty liver (P = 0.00). The patients with normal ALT had lower necroinflammatory grade than patients with abnormal ALT (x2 = 10.30, P = 0.01), but they had similar degree of steatosis and fibrosis (x2 = 5.52, 6.12; P = 0.12, 0.01). AST, g-glutamyltransferase, total cholesterol, apolipoprotein A1, apolipoprotein B and systolic blood pressure of patients with normal ALT were all lower than those of patients with abnormal ALT (t = 5.91, 2.00, 2.30, 2.10, 3.14, 2.43; P = 0.00, 0.05, 0.02, 0.04, 0.00, 0.02), while spleen thickness and AST/ALT ratio in patients with normal ALT were higher than those with abnormal ALT significantly (t = 3.70, 2.95; P = 0.00, 0.01). Multivariate analysis revealed that ALT (OR = 2.78, 95% CI 1.06-7.3, P = 0.04) was the only independent predictor of NASH, and ALT had low accuracy in predicting NASH, the area under the receiver operating characteristics curves of ALT to predict NASH was 0.69 (95% CI 0.59-0.8, P = 0.00).

CONCLUSION: NAFLD patients have higher ALT level, and elevated serum level of ALT is independent predictor of the degree of inflammation, but not of steatosis and fibrosis.

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