Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saiseikai Suita Hospital, Suita, Japan.
The Japan Society of Diabetes Mellitus reported that the leading cause of death in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) was chronic liver disease; however, there are limited studies investigating the cause of liver injury in these patients. Our study aimed to clarify the clinicopathological features of liver injury and the characteristics of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in DM patients.
In total, 5,642 DM patients and 365 histologically proven NAFLD patients were enrolled. Clinical and laboratory parameters and liver biopsy results were, respectively, recorded and analyzed for the two sets of patients.
Positivity rates for Hepatitis B surface antigens (HBsAg) and anti-hepatitis C virus antibodies (anti-HCV Ab) were 1.7 and 5.1 %, respectively. The proportion of drinkers consuming 20-59 g and ≥60 g alcohol daily was 14.9 and 4.3 %, respectively. The percentage of DM patients with elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (≥31 IU/L) was 28.6 %. Alcohol consumption had no significant effect on serum ALT levels. Seventy-two percent of HBsAg-positive patients were serum hepatitis B virus (HBV)-DNA negative, whereas 10 % exhibited high levels of the same (>4.0 log copies/ml). Thirty-eight percent of anti-HCV Ab-positive patients were serum HCV-RNA negative. Among the NAFLD patients, the frequencies of NASH and advanced stage NASH were significantly higher in male DM patients than in male patients without DM.
Although HBsAg- and anti-HCV Ab-positivity rates were high in our Japanese DM patients, a majority of liver injuries could be associated with NAFLD/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.