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Metabolism. 2008 Dec;57(12):1711-8. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.07.030.

Efficacy of atorvastatin for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with dyslipidemia.

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Department of Medicine and Molecular Science, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan.


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. Currently, there is no established therapy for NASH. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of atorvastatin in the treatment of NASH associated with hyperlipidemia. This prospective study included 31 patients with biopsy-proven NASH with hyperlipidemia. Body mass index, serum lipids, liver function tests, fibrosis markers, and adipocytokines (adiponectin, leptin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha) were measured periodically during an open-label study of atorvastatin (10 mg daily) for 24 months. Standard weight-loss counseling was continued during the treatment period. Oral glucose tolerance test and liver density assessed by computerized tomography were performed before and after treatment. Follow-up liver biopsy was performed in 17 patients. All 31 patients had high cholesterol levels at baseline, and 20 also presented high triglyceride levels. The body mass index and serum glucose levels did not change during the treatment. After treatment, 23 patients (74.2%) presented normal transaminase levels. Adiponectin levels were significantly increased, and the levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha were significantly decreased. However, leptin levels were not changed significantly. The concentration of long-chain fatty acids was decreased; and significant decreases were observed in C18:2,n-6 (linoleic acid, -21%) and C20:4,n-6 (arachidonic acid, -22%). Liver steatosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease activity score were significantly improved, whereas 4 patients had increased fibrosis stage. The NASH-related metabolic parameters improved with therapy, including fibrosis in some patients. However, 4 of 17 patients had progression of fibrosis over the 2-year period, with 3 of them progressing to stage 3. It is unclear whether this divergent response represents sampling error, heterogeneity in the population, or untreated postprandial hyperglyceridemia. Controlled trials are needed to further investigate and resolve this.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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