Objective: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become one of the most common chronic liver diseases in children. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of oxidative stress with insulin resistance and metabolic risk factors in obese adolescents with NAFLD.
Methods: Forty-six obese adolescents (23 girls and 23 boys, mean age: 12.8 ± 2.2 years) and 29 control subjects (15 girls and 14 boys, mean age: 12.7 ± 2.7 years) were enrolled in the study. The obese subjects were divided into two groups (NAFLD group and non-NAFLD group) based on the elevated alanine aminotransferase levels (>30 IU/L) and the presence or absence of liver steatosis detected by ultrasonography. Insulin resistance was evaluated by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR) from fasting samples. Plasma total antioxidant status (TAS) and total oxidant status (TOS) level measurements (REL Assay Diagnostics) were done in all participants. The ratio of TOS to TAS was regarded as an oxidative stress index (OSI), an indicator of the degree of OS.
Results: Fasting insulin levels and HOMA-IR values in the NAFLD group were significantly higher than in the non-NAFLD and control groups. TAS measurements were decreased in both obese groups (NAFLD and non-NAFLD) in comparison with the control group. TOS and OSI measurements were higher in the NAFLD group than in the non-NAFLD and control groups. OSI was positively correlated with fasting insulin (r=0.67, p=0.01) and HOMA-IR (r=0.71, p=0.02) in the NAFLD obese group.
Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study, elevated OS markers in obese adolescents with NAFLD were associated with insulin resistance. This data suggest that an antioxidant therapy might have a potential for treating NAFLD associated with insulin resistance.