Background: Fatty liver is known to be linked with insulin resistance, alcohol intake, diabetes and obesity. Biopsy and even scan-assessed fatty liver are not always feasible in clinical practice. This report evaluates the predictive ability of two recently published markers of fatty liver: the Fatty Liver Index (FLI) and the NAFLD fatty liver score (NAFLD-FLS), for 9-year incident diabetes, in the French general-population cohort: Data from an Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance syndrome (D.E.S.I.R).
Methods: At baseline, there were 1861 men and 1950 women, non-diabetic, aged 30 to 65 years. Over the follow-up, 203 incident diabetes cases (140 men, 63 women) were identified by diabetes-treatment or fasting plasma glucose > or = 7.0 mmol/l. The FLI includes: BMI, waist circumference, triglycerides and gamma glutamyl transferase, and the NAFLD-FLS: the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, insulin, alanine aminotransferase, and asparate aminotransferase. Logistic regression was used to determine the odds ratios for incident diabetes associated with categories of the fatty liver indices.
Results: In comparison to those with a FLI < 20, the age-adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for diabetes for a FLI > or = 70 was 9.33 (5.05-17.25) for men and 36.72 (17.12-78.76) for women; these were attenuated to 3.43 (1.61-7.28) and 11.05 (4.09 29.81), after adjusting on baseline glucose, insulin, hypertension, alcohol intake, physical activity, smoking and family antecedents of diabetes; odds ratios increased to 4.71 (1.68-13.16) and 22.77 (6.78-76.44) in those without an excessive alcohol intake. The NAFLD-FLS also predicted incident diabetes, but with odds ratios much lower in women, similar in men.
Conclusions: These fatty liver indexes are simple clinical tools for evaluating the extent of liver fat and they are predictive of incident diabetes. Physicians should screen for diabetes in patients with fatty liver.