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Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 11;8(1):15145. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32245-0.

Male-specific association between subclinical hypothyroidism and the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease estimated by hepatic steatosis index: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013 to 2015.

Author information

1
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
2
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Paul's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
3
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Paul's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea. benedict@catholic.ac.kr.

Abstract

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a prevalent liver disease encompassing a broad spectrum of pathologic changes in the liver. Metabolic derangements are suggested to be main causes of NAFLD. As thyroid hormone is a main regulator of energy metabolism, there may be a link between NAFLD and thyroid function. In previous studies, the association between NAFLD and thyroid function was not conclusive. The aim of this study was to clarify the relationship between NAFLD and thyroid function, focusing on subclinical hypothyroidism, using nationwide survey data representing the Korean population. NAFLD was defined as a hepatic steatosis index of 36 or higher. Based on the analysis of nationwide representative data, subclinical hypothyroidism was related to a high risk of NAFLD in males, but not in females. Our study showed that thyroid function might play a substantial role in the development of NAFLD, especially in males. Further study to elucidate the underlying mechanism of gender specific association of mild thyroid dysfunction and NAFLD would be required.

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