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Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Sep;102(9):1931-8. Epub 2007 May 19.

Usefulness of a combined evaluation of the serum adiponectin level, HOMA-IR, and serum type IV collagen 7S level to predict the early stage of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Kanazawa Medical University, Ishikawa, Japan.



Since nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) may progress to cirrhosis, it is important to differentiate NASH from simple steatosis, especially in its early stages. However, a liver biopsy cannot be performed in all patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We herein investigated whether serum biochemical markers are useful for predicting early-stage NASH.


Nineteen patients with simple steatosis and 66 patients with early-stage NASH (stage 1-2 in Brunt's criteria) were studied. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was used to illustrate the diagnostic ability of serum biochemical parameters to distinguish between simple steatosis and early-stage NASH.


The serum adiponectin level was found to be significantly lower with early-stage NASH group (3.6 mug/mL) than in the simple steatosis group (6.0 mug/mL) (P < 0.001). The AUC was high (0.765) in the early-stage NASH group, and it was also the highest among all other markers. The sensitivity of the serum adiponectin level in the diagnosis of early-stage NASH was 68%, which was higher than for any other factors, while its specificity was 79%. The corresponding sensitivity and specificity of HOMA-IR were 51% and 95%, respectively. For type IV collagen 7S, sensitivity was 41% and specificity 95%. The sensitivity of the combination of three markers was 94%, with a specificity of 74%.


Approximately 90% of the patients with early-stage NASH can be predicted by a combined evaluation of the serum adiponectin level, HOMA-IR, and serum type IV collagen 7S level.

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