Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is closely associated with sub-clinical inflammation: a case-control study on Asian Indians in North India

Priyanka Nigam, Surya P Bhatt, Anoop Misra, Meera Vaidya, Jharna Dasgupta, Davinder Singh Chadha
PloS One 2013, 8 (1): e49286

OBJECTIVES: Association between sub-clinical inflammation and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has not been studied in Asian Indians. In this case-control study, we aimed to analyse association of NAFLD with the sub-clinical inflammation and metabolic profile in Asian Indians in north India.

METHODS: Ultrasound diagnosed 120 cases of NAFLD were compared to 152 healthy controls without NAFLD. Anthropometric profile [body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC)], high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), metabolic profile [fasting blood glucose (FBG), lipid profile] and hepatic function tests [alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST)] were recorded.

RESULTS: Metabolic parameters [FBG, total cholesterol (TC), serum triglycerides (TG),low-density lipoprotein (LDL-c)], hs-CRP and prevalence of the metabolic syndrome were higher in cases as compared to controls (p-value<0.05 for all). The median (range) of hs-CRP (mg/L) for cases [2.6(0.2-13.4)] were significantly higher than in controls [1.4(0.03-11.4), p = 0.01]. Similarly, higher values of hs-CRP were obtained when subgroups of cases with obesity, abdominal obesity and the metabolic syndrome were compared to controls [2.75 (0.03-14.3) vs. 1.52 (0.04-14.3), p = 0.0010; 2.8 (0.03-14.3) vs. 1.5 (0.06-14.3), p = 0.0014 and 2.7 (0.5-14.3) vs. 1.6 (0.06-8.5), p = 0.0013, respectively. On multivariate logistic regression analysis BMI (p = 0.001), WC (p = 0.001), FBG (p = 0.002), TC (p = 0.008), TG (p = 0.002), blood pressure (p = 0.005), metabolic syndrome (p = 0.001) and hs-CRP (p = 0.003) were significantly and independently associated with NAFLD. After adjusting for significant variables, the association between high hs-CRP and NAFLD remained large and statistically significant [adjusted OR = 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05-1.29]. An increase in 1 mg/dl of hs-CRP level calculated to increase the risk of developing NAFLD by 1.7 times as compared to controls after adjusting for significant variables associated with NAFLD.

CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of Asian Indians in North India, presence of NAFLD showed independent relationships with sub-clinical inflammation.

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