Background and Aims: Although the metabolic risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) progression have been recognized, the role of genetic susceptibility remains a field to be explored. The aim of this study was to examine the frequency of two polymorphisms in Brazilian patients with biopsy-proven simple steatosis or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): −493 G/T in the MTP gene, which codes the protein responsible for transferring triglycerides to nascent apolipoprotein B, and −129 C/T in the GCLC gene, which codes the catalytic subunit of glutamate-cystein ligase in the formation of glutathione.
Methods: One hundred and thirty-one biopsy-proven NAFLD patients (n = 45, simple steatosis; n = 86, NASH) and 141 unrelated healthy volunteers were evaluated. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood cells, and the −129 C/T polymorphism of the GCLC gene was determined by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). The −493 G/T polymorphism of the MTP gene was determined by direct sequencing of the polymerase chain reaction products.
Results: The presence of at least one T allele in the −129 C/T polymorphism of the GCLC gene was independently associated with NASH (odds ratio 12.14, 95% confidence interval 2.01–73.35; P = 0.007), whereas, the presence of at least one G allele in the −493 G/T polymorphism of the MTP gene differed slightly between biopsy-proven NASH and simple steatosis.
Conclusion: This difference clearly warrants further investigation in larger samples. These two polymorphisms could represent an additional factor for consideration in evaluating the risk of NAFLD progression. Further studies involving a larger population are necessary to confirm this notion.