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Reuters Health Information (2008-01-25): Liver fat increased in type 2 diabetes


Liver fat increased in type 2 diabetes

Last Updated: 2008-01-25 17:30:26 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Patients with type 2 diabetes have substantially more fat in their livers than nondiabetics of the same weight, investigators in Finland report. However, liver enzyme levels underestimate liver fat content in diabetics.

"It is important to develop tools to diagnose a fatty liver in type 2 diabetic patients because nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is more common in type 2 diabetic patients than in nondiabetic subjects and can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure," Dr. Anna Kotronen and colleagues write in the January issue of Diabetes Care.

Knowledge of a patient's liver fat content is also an important parameter to consider when making treatment choices, they add.

Dr. Kotronen at the University of Helsinki and colleagues studied 70 patients with type 2 diabetes and 70 nondiabetic subjects matched for body mass index, age, and sex. Liver fat content was measured using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and body composition was measured using magnetic resonance imaging.

Liver fat content was about 80% higher in the diabetics (mean 13% vs 7.3%, p = .005), with the discrepancy between groups widening with increasing obesity, irrespective of antihyperglycemic therapy.

"An intriguing observation in the present study was that the type 2 diabetic patients had 40-200% more liver fat at the same serum alanine aminotransferase and serum aspartate aminotransferase concentrations than the nondiabetic subjects."

"Thus," say the authors, "there is a need to develop new serum markers of steatosis."

Diabetes Care 2008;31:165-169.

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