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Abstract

Factors underlying the independent association of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with increased cardiovascular risk are unknown. Adiponectin polymorphisms predict cardiometabolic risk in the general population. This association is not always mediated by low fasting adiponectin levels, adipose tissue accumulation, or traditional risk factors. Adiponectin modulates lipid metabolism and liver injury in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) even in the absence of obesity, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. We hypothesized adiponectin polymorphisms may predispose to NAFLD and may increase cardiovascular risk by modulating circulating lipoprotein and adiponectin response postprandially. The prevalence of adiponectin single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) 45GT and 276GT was assessed in 70 nonobese, nondiabetic, normolipidemic NAFLD patients and 70 healthy matched controls; the impact of the adiponectin SNPs was subsequently correlated to liver histology and postprandial adiponectin and lipoprotein responses to oral fat load in a subgroup of 30 biopsy-proven patients with NASH and 30 controls. The 45TT and 276GT/TT genotypes were more prevalent in NAFLD patients than in controls and independently predicted the severity of liver disease in NASH. In both patients and controls, these genotypes exhibited a blunted postprandial adiponectin response and higher postprandial triglycerides (Tg), free fatty acids (FFA), oxidized LDL (oxLDL), and VLDL levels than their counterparts, despite comparable fasting adipokines, lipids, dietary habits, adiposity, and insulin resistance. They were also independently associated, together with dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid intake, with postprandial adiponectin response. IAUC adiponectin independently predicted postprandial Tg, FFA, oxLDL, and intestinal and hepatic VLDL subfraction responses in NASH. Conclusion: The at-risk adiponectin SNPs 45TT and 276GT are significantly more prevalent in NAFLD than in the general population; they are associated with severity of liver disease, with blunted postprandial adiponectin response, and with an atherogenic postprandial lipoprotein profile in NASH independently of fasting adipokine and lipid levels. (HEPATOLOGY 2008.)