NASH resolution is associated with improvements in HDL and triglyceride levels but not improvement in LDL or non-HDL-C levels

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Feb;41(3):301-9. doi: 10.1111/apt.13035. Epub 2014 Nov 28.


Background: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is associated with dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Aim: To determine the relationship between resolution of NASH and dyslipidemia.

Methods: Individuals in the Pioglitazone vs. Vitamin E vs. Placebo for the Treatment of Nondiabetic Patients with Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (PIVENS) trial with paired liver biopsies and fasting lipid levels were included (N = 222). In the PIVENS trial individuals were randomised to pioglitazone 30 mg, vitamin E 800 IU or placebo for 96 weeks. Change in lipid levels at 96 weeks was compared between those with and without NASH resolution.

Results: Dyslipidemia at baseline was frequent, with low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (<40 mg/dL in men or <50 mg/dL in women) in 63%, hypertriglyceridaemia (≥150 mg/dL) in 46%, hypercholesterolaemia (≥200 mg/dL) in 47% and triglycerides (TG)/HDL >5.0 in 25%. Low-density lipoprotein (LD) ≥160 mg/dL was found in 16% and elevated non-HDL cholesterol (non-HDL-C) (≥130 mg/dL) in 73%. HDL increased with NASH resolution but decreased in those without resolution (2.9 mg/dL vs. -2.5 mg/dL, P < 0.001). NASH resolution was associated with significant decreases in TG and TG/HDL ratio compared to those without resolution (TG: -21.1 vs. -2.3 mg/dL, P = 0.03 and TG/HDL: -0.7 vs. 0.1, P = 0.003). Non-HDL-C, LDL and cholesterol decreased over 96 weeks in both groups, but there was no significant difference between groups. Treatment group did not impact lipids.

Conclusions: NASH resolution is associated with improvements in TG and HDL but not in other cardiovascular disease risk factors including LDL and non-HDL-C levels. Individuals with resolution of NASH may still be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. identifier: NCT00063622.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Pioglitazone
  • Risk
  • Thiazolidinediones / therapeutic use*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • HDL-triglyceride
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Triglycerides
  • Vitamin E
  • Cholesterol
  • Pioglitazone

Associated data


Grant support