Background: Fatty liver is associated with insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity and is therefore considered a phenotype of metabolic syndrome. However, less is known regarding the metabolic abnormalities associated with non-alcoholic fatty pancreatic disease (NAFPD; fatty pancreas). The present study was performed to ascertain whether fatty pancreas is associated with specific metabolic risk factors and with metabolic syndrome as defined by the Adult Treatment Panel III.
Methods: Five-hundred-fifty-seven healthy and consecutive subjects without known hypertension or diabetes and who received a health investigation at the National Taiwan University Hospital Health Management Center were enrolled in this retrospective study. Fatty pancreas was diagnosed via trans-abdominal ultrasonographic findings.
Results: Seventy-two (12.9%) subjects diagnosed with fatty pancreas comprised the fatty pancreas group, and remaining subjects comprised the normal pancreas group. The presence of various demographic and metabolic risk factors was recorded for all subjects, and the two groups were examined for statistically significant differences in these factors. As compared to the absence of fatty pancreas, the presence of the disease was associated with older age and with higher values for each of the following: BMI, abdominal girth/height, abdominal girth (both genders), fasting and postprandial blood glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and platelet count. In contrast to previously reported findings, serum amylase values were lower in the fatty pancreas as compared to the control group.
Conclusion: The presence of fatty pancreas represents a meaningful manifestation of metabolic syndrome together with obesity.