Ectopic lipid storage in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is not mediated by impaired mitochondrial oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle

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Cuthbertson, DJ ; Irwin, A ; Sprung, VS ; Jones, H ; Pugh, CJA ; Daousi, C ; Adams, VL ; Bimson, WE ; Shojaee Moradie, F ; Richardson, P ; Umpleby, AM ; Wilding, JP ; Kemp, GJ

Background and Aims. Simple clinical algorithms including the Fatty Liver Index (FLI) and Lipid Accumulation Product (LAP) have been developed as a surrogate marker for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). These algorithms have been constructed using ultrasonography, a semi-quantitative method. This study aimed to validate FLI and LAP as measures of hepatic steatosis, as measured quantitatively by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). \ud Methods. Data were collected from 168 patients with NAFLD and 168 controls who had undergone clinical, biochemical and anthropometric assessment in the course of research studies. Values of FLI and LAP were determined, and assessed both as predictors of the presence of hepatic steatosis (liver fat >5.5 %) and of actual liver fat content, as measured by 1H MRS. The discriminative ability of FLI and LAP was estimated using the area under the Receiver Operator Characteristic curve (AUROC). Since FLI can also be interpreted as a predictive probability of hepatic steatosis, we assessed how well calibrated it was in our cohort. Linear regression with prediction intervals was used to assess the ability of FLI and LAP to predict liver fat content. \ud Results. FLI and LAP discriminated between patients with and without hepatic steatosis with an AUROC of 0.79 (IQR= 0.74, 0.84) and 0.78 (IQR= 0.72, 0.83), although quantitative prediction of liver fat content was unsuccessful. Additionally, the algorithms accurately matched the observed percentages of patients with hepatic steatosis in our cohort. \ud Conclusions. FLI and LAP may be used clinically, and for metabolic and epidemiological research, to identify patients with hepatic steatosis, but not as surrogates for liver fat content.
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