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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2010 Mar;12(3):207-12. doi: 10.1089/dia.2009.0069.

Feasibility of assessing liver lipid by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in healthy normal and overweight prepubertal children.

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  • 1University of Wyoming, Laramie, 82071, USA.



Intramyocellular and intrahepatic (IHL) lipids are significantly associated with insulin resistance in adults and adolescents and may represent an early marker for developing the metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.


During the pilot phase of a larger cross-sectional study, we used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) to determine the feasibility of noninvasively evaluating IHL in 11 male (n = 4) and female (n = 7) prepubertal children using a standard clinical system and to determine whether IHL is correlated with adiposity, fasting insulin and glucose, and liver enzymes.


Body mass index (BMI) (range, 13.4-32.4 kg/m(2)) and IHL stores (range, 0.07-3.2% relative to an oil phantom) were variable. IHL was correlated with body mass (r = 0.66, P = 0.037), BMI (r = 0.73, P = 0.016), percentage body fat (r = 0.73, P = 0.01, n = 10), waist circumference (r = 0.85, P = 0.016), and serum lactate dehydrogenase concentration (r = 0.77, P = 0.03) but was not significantly correlated with other markers of liver damage, including aspartate aminotransferase activity (r = 0.59, P = 0.09, n = 9) and alkaline phosphatase concentrations (r = 0.60, P = 0.087). IHL was also (P < 0.01) correlated with fasting insulin concentration (r = 0.85, P = 0.03, n = 6) and insulin resistance (r = 0.94, P = 0.006, n = 6), but these correlations were driven by the results for one child.


These preliminary data suggest that (1)H-MRS obtained in a standard pediatric clinical environment may be used to determine IHL in healthy normal and overweight prepubertal youth. This noninvasive technique may prove useful in identifying early markers of the metabolic syndrome in at-risk youth.

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