APR 27, 2016 1:56 PM PDT

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Contributes to Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
For most patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) who die, the cause of death is heart disease. Although NAFLD is connected to metabolic disease like diabetes, obesity, arterial hypertension, and atherogenic dyslipidemia, a new study from the Pierre and Marie University shows that NAFLD is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis.

NAFLD is characterized by inflammation of the liver and accumulation of fatty deposits. These deposits express pro-inflammatory cytokines, procoagulant factors, and genes that contribute to an accelerated progression of atherogenesis.  

"This raises the possibility that the link between NAFLD and cardiovascular mortality might not simply be mediated by shared, underlying, common risk factors, but rather that NAFLD independently contributes to increasing this risk," said senior author of the Journal of Hepatology publication Vlad Ratziu, MD, PhD.
 

In a study of almost six thousand people conducted between 1995 and 2012, researchers looked data from carotid ultrasounds to understand the connection between NAFLD and atherosclerosis. They measured carotid intima-media thickness as well as carotid plaques and compared the data to the Fatty Liver Index (FLI). The carotid arteries vitally supply blood the brain, neck, and face.

Fatty liver, also called steatosis, is associated with another measurement called carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT), which the FLI takes into consideration. As a preatherosclerotic lesion, C-IMT is a factor that can predict cardiovascular events.

The researchers saw a direct relationship between C-IMT and fatty liver: if one increased so did the other. However, the saw that C-IMT increase acts independently of any “traditional” cardiometabolic risk factors present.

Researchers followed up with almost two thousand of the patients who participated in the earlier years of the study to look at how their carotid plaques and fatty liver had developed over time. After eight years, 12 percent of the patients showed steatosis and a C-IMT increase, and 23 percent had carotid plaques. However, C-IMT did not change in the follow-up participants who stayed free of steatosis.
 
Ultimately, the scientists concluded that NAFLD is a precursor of metabolic syndrome, and diagnosing steatosis is extremely important to be proactive in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.
 

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 01, 2021
Microbiology
A New Type of Antibiotics Help the Immune System Fight Pathogens
JAN 01, 2021
A New Type of Antibiotics Help the Immune System Fight Pathogens
Reporting in Nature, scientists have identified a new group of compounds that may help us get out of the antibiotic-resi ...
JAN 22, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Breast Cancer's Nasty Nine Revealed
JAN 22, 2021
Breast Cancer's Nasty Nine Revealed
Calculating an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer isn’t easy. There’s a complex interplay b ...
JAN 26, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Prostate Cancer Screening: No More False Positives
JAN 26, 2021
Prostate Cancer Screening: No More False Positives
A new diagnostic test powered by artificial intelligence has been found to detect prostate cancer markers in urine sampl ...
JAN 26, 2021
Immunology
COVID Vaccine Reactions: You're As Likely to Be Struck by Lightning
JAN 26, 2021
COVID Vaccine Reactions: You're As Likely to Be Struck by Lightning
In a period of just over three weeks, over four million people received Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Out of all the ...
JAN 25, 2021
Cardiology
Obesity's Poor Health Impact Not Overcome by Exercise
JAN 25, 2021
Obesity's Poor Health Impact Not Overcome by Exercise
While there has been limited evidence that activity and fitness can counter the health impacts of excess body fat, a new ...
JAN 25, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Beyond Organoids to a Better Research Model
JAN 25, 2021
Beyond Organoids to a Better Research Model
For many years, scientists have relied on cells that grow in dishes and animal models to learn more about human diseases ...
Loading Comments...