Association between diabetes, family history of diabetes, and risk of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and fibrosis


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health. As per the policy of the network, the manuscript for this article was reviewed by the NIDDK before publication. The authors take complete responsibility of the data analyses and credibility of findings.


Previous studies have shown familial aggregation of insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Therefore, we aimed to examine whether family history of diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and fibrosis in patients with NAFLD. This was a cross-sectional analysis in participants of the NAFLD Database study and PIVENS trial who had available data on family history of DM. One thousand and sixty-nine patients (63% women), with mean age of 49.6 (± 11.8) years and body mass index (BMI) of 34.2 (± 6.4) kg/m2, were included. Thirty percent had DM, and 56% had a family history of DM. Both personal history of DM and family history of DM were significantly associated with NASH, with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.93 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.37-2.73; P <0.001) and 1.48 (95% CI: 1.11-1.97; P = 0.01) and any fibrosis with an OR of 3.31 (95% CI: 2.26-4.85; P < 0.001) and 1.66 (95% CI: 1.25-2.20; P < 0.001), respectively. When the models were adjusted for age, sex, BMI, ethnicity, and metabolic traits, the association between diabetes and family history of DM with NASH showed an increased adjusted OR of 1.76 (95% CI: 1.13-2.72; P < 0.001) and 1.34 (95% CI: 0.99-1.81; P = 0.06), respectively, and with any fibrosis with a significant adjusted OR of 2.57 (95% CI: 1.61-4.11; P < 0.0001) and 1.38 (95% CI: 1.02-1.87; P = 0.04), respectively. After excluding patients with personal history of diabetes, family history of DM was significantly associated with the presence of NASH and any fibrosis with an adjusted OR of 1.51 (95% CI: 1.01-2.25; P = 0.04) and 1.49 (95% CI: 1.01-2.20; P = 0.04), respectively. Conclusions: Diabetes is strongly associated with risk of NASH, fibrosis, and advanced fibrosis. Family history of diabetes, especially among nondiabetics, is associated with NASH and fibrosis in NAFLD. (HEPATOLOGY 2012;56:943–951)