Objective: Genetic variation in six genes has been associated with elevated liver fat and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in adults. The influence of these genes on liver fat and whether a genetic risk score (GRS) would improve upon the ability of common clinical risk factors to predict elevated liver fat content (ELF) in Hispanic children was determined.
Design and methods: 223 obese Hispanic children were genotyped for six SNPs. MRI was used to measure liver fat. A GRS was tested for association with ELF using multivariate linear regression. Predictors were assessed via ROC curves and pair-wise analysis was used to determine significance alone and combined with clinical markers.
Results: Only variants in PNPLA3 and APOC3 genes were associated with liver fat (P < 0.001, P = 0.01, respectively). Subjects with a GRS = 4 had ∼3-fold higher liver fat content than subjects with GRS of 0 (15.1 ± 12.7 vs. 5.1 ± 3.7%, P = 0.03). While the addition of the GRS to a model containing BMI and liver enzymes increased ROC AUC from 0.83 to 0.85 [95% CI, 0.79-0.89], (P = 0.01), it does not improve detection of ELF from a clinical perspective.
Conclusions: Only PNPLA3 and APOC3 were related to ELF and a GRS comprised of these susceptibility alleles did not add to the discriminatory power of traditional biomarkers for clinical assessment of liver fat.
Copyright © 2013 The Obesity Society.