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Diabetic fatty liver disease is associated with specific changes in blood-borne markers


Sandra MacRury, Department of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Science, Highland Diabetes Institute, Centre for Health Science, Inverness IV2 3JH, UK.




Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma and is strongly associated with obesity and insulin resistance. The aim of this study was to assess if plasma markers associated with NAFLD are increased in people with concomitant diabetes compared with those without.


A total of 68 participants were recruited from diabetes and liver clinics. Fatty liver disease was indicated by routine blood tests and ultrasonography. Forty-seven participants had type 2 diabetes; of them, 18 had no fatty liver disease as defined previously (DNoFLD) and 29 had fatty liver disease (DFLD); the remaining 21 had fatty liver disease but no diabetes (NonDFLD). Serum samples were analyzed for adiponectin (APN), alanine and aspartate aminotransferases and plasma for cholesterol, triglyceride, hyaluronic acid (HA), procollagen peptide III, alkaline phosphatase and fibrinogen.


Hyaluronic acid and procollagen peptide III were significantly higher and adiponectin significantly lower in DFLD than NonDFLD and DNoFLD, the difference being particularly marked for hyaluronic acid and APN. There was no difference in these markers between NonDFLD and DNoFLD and no association between any plasma or serum marker and ultrasound grade of steatosis.


We have identified markers of hepatic steatosis that appear to be specific for people with type 2 diabetes. A further longitudinal study is merited to assess the role of these markers in understanding the progression of hepatic steatosis and fibrosis in people with and without diabetes. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.