Aims/hypothesis: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes. Currently, there is a lack of information on associations between NAFLD and microvascular complications of diabetes. We assessed the associations between NAFLD and both chronic kidney disease (CKD) and retinopathy in a large cohort of type 2 diabetic individuals using a cross-sectional design.
Methods: Prevalence rates of retinopathy (by ophthalmoscopy) and CKD (defined as overt proteinuria and/or estimated GFR <or= 60 ml min(-1) 1.73 m(-2)) were assessed in 2,103 type 2 diabetic individuals who were free of diagnosed cardiovascular disease and viral hepatitis. NAFLD was ascertained by patient history, blood sampling and liver ultrasound.
Results: NAFLD patients had higher (p<0.001) age- and sex-adjusted prevalence rates of both non-proliferative (39 vs 34%) and proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy (11 vs 5%), and CKD (15 vs 9%) than counterparts without NAFLD. In logistic regression analysis, NAFLD was associated with increased rates of CKD (odds ratio 1.87; 95% CI 1.3-4.1, p=0.020) and proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy (odds ratio 1.75; 1.1-3.7, p=0.031) independently of age, sex, BMI, waist circumference, hypertension, diabetes duration, HbA(1c), lipids, smoking status and medications use.
Conclusions/interpretation: Our findings suggest that NAFLD is associated with an increased prevalence of CKD and proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy in type 2 diabetic individuals independently of numerous baseline confounding factors. Further studies are required to confirm the reproducibility of these results and to evaluate whether NAFLD contributes to the development or progression of CKD and retinopathy.