Liver steatosis coexists with myocardial insulin resistance and coronary dysfunction in patients with type 2 diabetes

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Aug;291(2):E282-90. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00604.2005. Epub 2006 Feb 14.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) is a common comorbidity in patients with type 2 diabetes and links to the risk of coronary syndromes. The aim was to determine the manifestations of metabolic syndrome in different organs in patients with liver steatosis. We studied 55 type 2 diabetic patients with coronary artery disease using positron emission tomography. Myocardial perfusion was measured with [15O]H2O and myocardial and skeletal muscle glucose uptake with 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose during hyperinsulinemic euglycemia. Liver fat content was determined by magnetic resonance proton spectroscopy. Patients were divided on the basis of their median (8%) into two groups with low (4.6 +/- 2.0%) and high (17.4 +/- 8.0%) liver fat content. The groups were well matched for age, BMI, and fasting plasma glucose. In addition to insulin resistance at the whole body level (P = 0.012) and muscle (P = 0.002), the high liver fat group had lower insulin-stimulated myocardial glucose uptake (P = 0.040) and glucose extraction rate (P = 0.0006) compared with the low liver fat group. In multiple regression analysis, liver fat content was the most significant explanatory variable for myocardial insulin resistance. In addition, the high liver fat group had increased concentrations of high sensitivity C-reactive protein, soluble forms of E-selectin, vascular adhesion protein-1, and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (P < 0.05) and lower coronary flow reserve (P = 0.02) compared with the low liver fat group. In conclusion, in patients with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease, liver fat content is a novel independent indicator of myocardial insulin resistance and reduced coronary functional capacity. Further studies will reveal the effect of hepatic fat reduction on myocardial metabolism and coronary function.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cardiomyopathies / epidemiology*
  • Cardiomyopathies / metabolism
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Fats / analysis*
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / epidemiology
  • Hyperinsulinism / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Fats