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Keywords:

  • liver fat;
  • magnetic resonance spectroscopy;
  • weight loss

Aim:  Hepatic steatosis affects up to 30% of the population. After weight loss, monitoring of the change in hepatic steatosis is not routinely performed. This study aimed to define the closest associates of change in liver fat content in a population of obese females following laparoscopic gastric banding surgery.

Methods:  Before and 3 months after surgery, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging were used to estimate the amount of lipid contained within the liver and abdominal subcutaneous and visceral compartments of 29 obese [mean body mass index (BMI) 39 ± 5 kg/m2], non-diabetic women aged between 20 and 62 years. Liver enzymes, fasting plasma glucose and insulin were also measured as well as body weight, BMI and waist circumference. Insulin sensitivity was estimated using homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance index.

Results:  Significant reductions occurred in body weight (p < 0.001), abdominal fat volumes (p < 0.001) and liver fat (p = 0.037) 3 months after surgery. Change in liver fat content more closely associated with change in serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT; r = 0.71, p < 0.001) than with changes in weight (r = 0.10, p = 0.612) and waist circumference (r = 0.15, p = 0.468).

Conclusions:  Our findings suggest that obese non-diabetic female patients who have undergone significant weight loss over 3 months can be better assessed for the regression of excess liver fat content by monitoring changes in serum GGT levels rather than changes in simple anthropometry.