Background Elevation of hepatic enzymes is associated with insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia and obesity. However, the factors behind elevation of liver enzymes remain unclear. The aim of this study was to compare the role of abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in relation with serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) in middle-aged Chinese adults.
Methods We performed a cross-sectional study on 959 adults aged 40–65 without hepatitis. VAT and SAT were measured at the level of L4–L5 by MRI. Pearson correlation and linear regression were performed to assess the association of VAT/SAT with serum ALT and GGT. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of VAT and SAT with high ALT (≥40 U/L) and high GGT (≥35 U/L).
Results VAT had higher correlation coefficient r with ALT and GGT than SAT. VAT, but not SAT, was associated with ALT (males: β=0.15, p=0.01; females: β=0.17, p=0.02) and GGT (males: β=0.39, p<0.0001) in linear regression. VAT remained to be associated with GGT in males (β=0.33, p=0.0001) when was further adjusted. Logistic regression showed that VAT was associated with elevated GGT (OR=2.218, p=0.043) in males but not in females and no such association was observed for SAT.
Conclusions Increased VAT, but not SAT, was associated with elevation of hepatic enzymes including ALT and GGT. Moreover, VAT was associated with elevated GGT independent of insulin resistance and subcutaneous fat in males.
- visceral fat
- subcutaneous fat
- alanine aminotransferase
- insulin resistance
- gamma glutamyltransferase
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Contributors LT and NT participated in the design, concept and drafting of the manuscript. LT, BY, FZ, HC, ZY, JL and JJ participated in the data collection, data analysis and drafting of the manuscript. All authors reviewed a final copy of the manuscript before submission.
Funding This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81700740).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Obtained.
Ethics approval Ethics Committee of the West China Hospital of Sichuan University.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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