Background: Studies have shown alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a marker for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), predicts type 2 diabetes (T2DM).
Objective: To examine the association between probable NAFLD and T2DM in non-obese, non-alcoholic consuming Filipino-American women aged 48-73 years.
Research design and methods: The UCSD Filipino Women's Health Study measured glucose, hepatic enzymes, adiponectin and visceral fat (VAT) during clinical visits (1995-2002). We defined T2DM by 1999 WHO criteria and probable NAFLD as ALT >31 U/L.
Results: Prevalence of T2DM was 34.4% and probable NAFLD was 17.2%. Women with T2DM (n=56) had higher VAT, total:HDL cholesterol, SBP, fasting glucose and insulin, postchallenge glucose, ALT (28.7 U/L versus 19.1 U/L, p<0.0001), GGT, AST, and probable NAFLD (32.1% versus 9.35%, p=0.0002) and lower adiponectin than those without T2DM (n=107). GGT (p=0.0008) and ALT (p=0.002) were associated with increasing VAT levels. Probable NAFLD was independently associated with T2DM (AOR 6.32, 95% CI 2.2-18.0), after adjusting for risk factors.
Conclusion: Probable NAFLD was elevated and associated with T2DM, independent of VAT, adiponectin and other risk factors. ALT may serve as a useful marker for NAFLD or diabetes risk in Filipino women.