Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is currently the most prevalent liver disorder, not only leads to chronic liver disease but is also associated with cardiovascular mortality. Several studies have conclusively established that increased arterial stiffness is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events and that the brachial-ankle pulse velocity (baPWV) is a useful clinical indicator of arterial stiffness for early evaluation of functional and structural changes in vessel walls. The aim of this study was to assess whether ultrasonographically diagnosed fatty liver disease is associated with arterial stiffness and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) in type 2 diabetic patients. The subjects were 294 type 2 diabetic patients (age: 66.4±10.3 years). Patients with and without fatty liver (FL) were categorized into the FL group (n=155), and non-FL group (n=139), respectively. The baPWV was measured as an index of arterial stiffness, and structural changes in vessel walls were assessed using the CIMT obtained with B-mode ultrasonography. BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, serum LDL-C, triglyceride (TG), and HbA1c levels, as well as the baPWV and CIMT levels were significantly higher in the FL than in the non-FL group. Serum levels of TG, hepatic AST, age, waist circumference and systolic blood pressure showed significant positive correlations with baPWV, respectively. However, no significant association was observed between the CIMT and serum hepatic AST levels. Multiple regression analysis showed that serum hepatic AST and ALT were independently associated with increased baPWV. Our findings suggest that NAFLD is associated with increased arterial stiffness. This is a clinically significant observation because it implicates arterial stiffness in the pathogenesis of NAFLD, suggesting that abdominal obesity and low-grade inflammation might be key etiopathogenetic contributors to both hepatic steatosis and macrovascular disease in type 2 diabetic patients.


M. Higa: None. M. Hijikata: None. K. Yamashita: None. T. Suzuki: None. M. Saito: None. M. Michishita: None. K. Ikehara: None. T. Ichijo: None.

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