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Arq Gastroenterol. 2010 Apr-Jun;47(2):165-9.

Insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) in the differentiation of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and healthy individuals.

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Departamento de Medicina, Disciplina de Gastroenterologia , Universidade Federal de São Paulo, SP, Brazil.



Due to its good correlation to glycemic clamp, HOMA-IR has been widely utilized as insulin resistance index in clinical and epidemiological studies involving non-alcoholic fatty liver disease carriers. However, values used for this parameter have shown large variability.


To identify the HOMA-IR cut value that best distinguishes non-diabetic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients from a control group.


One hundred sixteen non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients were studied, diagnosed by clinical, biochemical, and liver image or biopsy criteria, and 88 healthy individuals, without any liver disease and testing for oral glucose tolerance within normality. These groups did not differ in age and gender. All were submitted to oral glucose tolerance test and blood samples were collected for glucose and insulin measurements by immunofluorometric method. HOMA-IR was calculated according to the formula: fasting insulin (microU/L) x fasting glucose (nmol/L)/22.5.


NAFLD patients showed higher insulin, glycemia, and HOMA-IR values than control group, even when excluding glucose intolerant and diabetes mellitus patients by their glycemic curves. HOMA-IR 75th percentile for control group was 1.78 and the best area under the curve index was obtained for HOMA-IR values of 2.0 [AUC= 0.840 (0.781-0.899 CI 95%), sensitivity (Se): 85%, specificity (Sp): 83%] while value 2.5 showed best specificity without important loss in sensitivity [AUC=0,831 (0.773-0.888) Se = 72%, Sp = 94%].


HOMA-IR values above or equal to 2.0 or 2.5 show enhanced diagnostic value in distinguishing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease carriers from control group individuals.

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