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J Hepatol. 2006 Jan;44(1):190-6. Epub 2005 Jul 12.

Hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance: does etiology make a difference?

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  • 1Unità Operativa di Medicina Interna e Gastroenterologia, Nuovo Ospedale Civile-Estense, Via Giardini, Baggiovara, Modena 41100, Italy.



To ascertain whether the etiology of hepatic steatosis modulates insulin resistance (IR) and to determine the predictors of IR.


We studied IR through HOMA IR in 146 subjects, 99 of whom had ultrasonographic and/or histologic steatosis. Twenty-two had familial heterozygous hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHBL), 48 had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), 34 HCV infection (17 with HCV1b, 17 with HCV3a) and 42 were healthy controls without steatosis.


Steatosis was present in 77.3% of FHBL and, by enrolment criteria, in all NAFLD and HCV cases. Overall HOMA-IR correlated with BMI and GGT (P<0.01). FHBL and healthy groups had similar HOMA-IR and GGT values, whereas higher levels were observed in HCV and NAFLD. HCV3a and FHBL patients were hypolipidemic. HOMA-IR was similar in FHBL patients and controls and lower than in HCV and NAFLD. FHBL patients had a high extent of steatosis, similar to that observed in HCV3a, but lower grading and staging than NAFLD and HCV. At multivariate analysis, steatosis and GGT predicted HOMA-IR.


Data suggest that not all hepatic fat associates with IR. FHBL patients, for some aspects, resemble HCV3a infection, possibly suggesting a shared steatogenic mechanism. Among steatotic patients serum GGT levels is the independent predictor of IR.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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