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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Aug;291(2):E199-206. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Elevated resistin levels in cirrhosis are associated with the proinflammatory state and altered hepatic glucose metabolism but not with insulin resistance.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Germany.


The adipokine resistin has been implicated in obesity and insulin resistance. Liver cirrhosis is associated with decreased body fat mass and insulin resistance. We determined plasma resistin levels in 57 patients with cirrhosis, 13 after liver transplantation, and 30 controls and correlated these with hemodynamic as well as hepatic and systemic metabolic parameters. Patients with cirrhosis had, dependent on the clinical stage, an overall 86% increase in resistin levels (P < 0.001) with hepatic venous resistin being higher than arterial levels (P < 0.001). Circulating resistin was significantly correlated with plasma TNF-alpha levels (r = 0.62, P < 0.001). No correlation was observed between resistin and hepatic hemodynamics, body fat mass, systemic energy metabolism, and the degree of insulin resistance. However, plasma resistin in cirrhosis was negatively associated with hepatic glucose production (r = -0.47, P < 0.01) and positively with circulating free fatty acids (FFA; r = 0.40, P < 0.01) and ketone bodies (r = 0.48, P < 0.001) as well as hepatic ketone body production (r = 0.40, P < 0.01). After liver transplantation, plasma resistin levels remained unchanged, whereas insulin resistance was significantly improved (P < 0.01). These data provide novel insights into the role of resistin in the pathophysiological background of a catabolic disease in humans and also indicate that resistin inhibition may not represent a suitable therapeutic strategy for the treatment of insulin resistance and diabetes in patients with liver cirrhosis.

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