High-normal levels of hs-CRP predict the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver in healthy men
We performed a follow-up study to address whether high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels within the normal range can predictthe development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in healthy male subjects. Among15347 male workers between 30 and 59 years old who received annual health check-ups in 2002, a NAFLD-free cohort of 4,138 was followed through December 2009. Alcohol consumption was assessed with a questionnaire. At each visit, abdominal ultrasonography was performed to identify fatty liver disease. The COX proportional hazard model was used to evaluate the relationship between hs-CRP and incident NAFLD. During the follow-up period, 28.8% (1191 of 4138) of participants developed NAFLD. The hazard ratios of NAFLD were increased by hs-CRP categories within the normal range in the non-adjusted model and age-adjusted model. After adjusting for age, exercise, smoking, BMI, systolic BP, triglyceride, and fasting glucose, these incidences were only increased between the lowest and the highest hs-CRP categories. The risk for NAFLD increased as the hs-CRP level increased (p< 0.001). As the hs-CRP level increased within the healthy cohort, the risk of developing NAFLD increased. This trend remained true even if the hs-CRP level remained within the normal range. hs-CRP can be used as a predictor of NAFLD, as well as other obesity-associated diseases. Therefore, individuals with higher hs-CRP levels (even within the normal range) may require appropriate follow-up and management to prevent NAFLD development
This article is an OHRC member participated article.