Background: Fatty infiltration of the pancreas has been shown to interfere with insulin secretion. Both insulin sensitivity and secretion are important in the pathogenesis of diabetes and prediabetes. However, the relationship between diabetes, prediabetes, and fatty pancreas remains unknown. We aim to investigate the relationships that fatty pancreas and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have with prediabetes and diabetes in a Chinese population.
Patients and methods: This was a cross-sectional study. A total of 7,464 subjects were recruited. NAFLD and fatty pancreas were assessed by sonography. Clinico-metabolic parameters were compared among subjects with normoglycemia, prediabetes, and diabetes. Multinomial logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between fatty pancreas and NAFLD and diabetes or prediabetes with adjustment for cardiometabolic risk factors.
Results: With an increase in glycemia, a significantly greater proportion of subjects had NAFLD and fatty pancreas (test for trend p<0.05). Similar trends were also found for hypertension, general and central obesity, low-HDL cholesterol, and hypertriglyceridemia. In the logistic regression analysis, age, hypertension, male gender, hypertriglyceridemia, and central obesity were significantly associated with prediabetes and diabetes. Furthermore, the ORs of prediabetes and diabetes for NAFLD were 1.798 (95% CI 1.544-2.094) and 2.578 (95% CI 2.024-3.284), respectively. In addition, fatty pancreas was independently related to diabetes (OR, 1.379; 95% CI, 1.047-1.816) and prediabetes (OR, 1.222; 95% CI, 1.002-1.491) in male subjects.
Conclusions: Both NAFLD and fatty pancreas were associated with diabetes independent of age, gender, adiposity, and other cardiometabolic risk factors. Fatty pancreas was also related to prediabetes in males.