ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease describes a set of conditions that range from fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and is considered the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Obesity and insulin resistance are strongly associated with systemic markers of inflammation.
Focusing on this aspect, we have attempted to find a noninvasive method that could likely assess the presence of NASH and help to decide the liver biopsy performance.
Using histology as a gold standard to diagnose nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, we consecutively studied 43 patients with NASH and 40 with fatty liver, comparing their data with those of 48 healthy control participants. The outcomes evaluated were ultrasonographic spleen longitudinal diameter coupled with the splenic artery resistive index, serum IL-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations.
The NASH group had higher spleen longitudinal diameter values (P=0.0001) as well as significantly higher IL-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor concentrations than the other groups (P=0.0001). The optimal cut-off value for spleen longitudinal diameter that best discriminated NASH from fatty liver patients was 116 mm (specificity 95% and sensitivity 88%); the sensitivity and specificity of this parameter was better than both IL-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor in the same setting (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.920 vs. 0.817 and 0.678). Splenic artery resistive index was similar between patients with NASH and those with fatty liver, but differed when compared with controls, P=0.0001.
IL-6 was highly specific in confirming the absence of NASH at normal values. In our series, normal values of spleen longitudinal diameter and IL-6 were strongly associated with fatty liver.
European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 04/2009; 21(5):504-11. · 1.66 Impact Factor