Objective: There is increasing evidence for an association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index (APRI) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in obese adolescents with NAFLD.
Methods: Seventy-six obese adolescents and 36 lean subjects were enrolled in this cross-sectional single-centre study. The obese subjects were divided into two subgroups based on the presence or absence of fatty liver with high transaminase levels (NAFLD group and non-NAFLD group). Fasting blood samples were assayed for transaminase, glucose, and insulin levels. Insulin resistance was calculated by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR).
Results: APRI values were higher in both obese groups (NAFLD and non-NAFLD) in comparison with the lean group. The NAFLD group had significantly higher APRI values than the non-NAFLD obese group and the lean group. Carotid IMT was higher in both obese groups (NAFLD and non-NAFLD) in comparison with the lean group. The NAFLD group had significantly higher measurements of carotid IMT than the non-NAFLD group and the lean group. APRI was positively correlated with most of the metabolic parameters (total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR) and with carotid IMT in the NAFLD obese group.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that a significant relationship exists between APRI and carotid IMT in obese adolescents with NAFLD. We suggest that an increased APRI score in obese adolescents with NAFLD can possibly serve to predict a more adverse cardiovascular risk profile.