Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its association with obesity, insulin resistance and increased serum levels of C-reactive protein in Hispanics

Arnoldo Riquelme, Marco Arrese, Alejandro Soza, Arturo Morales, René Baudrand, Rosa María Pérez-ayuso, Robinson González, Manuel Alvarez, Verónica Hernández, María José García-zattera, Francisco Otarola, Brenda Medina, Attilio Rigotti, Juan Francisco Miquel, Guillermo Marshall, Flavio Nervi

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111 Scopus citations


Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a metabolic disorder of the liver, which may progress to fibrosis or cirrhosis. Recent studies have shown a significant impact of ethnicity on susceptibility to steatosis-related liver disease. Aims: To estimate the prevalence of NAFLD among Chilean Hispanics as well as the clinical and biochemical variables associated with the disease. Methods: Population-based study among Chilean Hispanics. The diagnosis of NAFLD was made on the basis of ultrasound evidence of fatty liver and absence of significant alcohol consumption and hepatitis C virus infection. Results: A total of 832 Hispanic subjects were included. Ultrasound findings revealed diffuse fatty liver in 23% of the subjects. Variables associated with fatty liver in multivariate analysis were body mass index > 26.9 [odds ratio (OR) 6.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.3-11.5], abnormal aspartate aminotransferase levels (OR 14; 95% CI 8.2-23.7), presence of insulin resistance as measured by homoeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (OR 3; 95% CI 1.8-4.8) and serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) greater than 0.86mg/L (OR 2.9; 95% CI 1.6-5.2). Among subjects with NAFLD, levels of hs-CRP were similar regardless of the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level. Conclusions: Chilean Hispanics exhibit a high prevalence of NAFLD. Obesity, insulin resistance, abnormal aminotransferase levels and elevated hs-CRP were independently associated with the presence of NAFLD. ALT elevation underestimates the presence of ultrasonographical fatty liver, whereas hs-CRP is a sensitive independent marker of NAFLD, which may be useful for detecting fatty liver in the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalLiver International
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Fatty liver
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
  • Hispanics
  • Insulin resistance
  • Steatohepatitis


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