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Clin Biochem. 2013 Feb;46(3):202-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

Plasma visfatin levels and gene expression in morbidly obese women with associated fatty liver disease.

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Grup de Recerca en Medicina Aplicada, Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), IISPV, Hospital Universitari Joan XXIII, Tarragona, Spain.



The few studies on the physiopathological role of visfatin in morbid obesity and the related metabolic diseases have led us to examine visfatin levels and its liver gene expression in morbidly obese women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).


We examined the circulating levels of visfatin by ELISA in serum samples from 95 morbidly obese women (MO) (BMI>40 kg/m(2)) who underwent bariatric surgery and 38 normal weight control women (BMI<25 kg/m(2)). We analysed visfatin liver and adipose tissue mRNA expression by RT-PCR. We evaluated the circulating levels and gene expression of adiponectin, resistin, RBP4, TNFα, IL6 and CRP.


Serum visfatin was significantly higher in MO compared with controls, and also in MO with NAFLD was significantly higher than MO with normal liver. We found that NAFLD diabetic patients presented similar serum visfatin levels than non-diabetic. Serum visfatin correlated with IL6 (r=0.496; p<0.001) and CRP levels (r=0.241; p=0.049). Liver visfatin expression was significantly higher in MO compared to controls and was also significantly higher in MO with NAFLD than in MO with normal liver. Visfatin liver expression correlated positively with resistin (r=0.436, p=0.018) and TNFα expression (r=0.328, p=0.028). Visfatin expression in adipose tissues was similar among the MO groups analysed.


Serum visfatin and its liver expression are higher in MO women with NAFLD, irrespective of the presence of diabetes. Serum visfatin and its liver expression correlate positively with pro-inflammatory factors. These findings suggest that visfatin may be a molecule related with fat inflammation in morbid obesity and fatty liver disease.

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