Benefits of Levothyroxine Replacement Therapy on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Subclinical Hypothyroidism Patients

Int J Endocrinol. 2017;2017:5753039. doi: 10.1155/2017/5753039. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


Objectives. To evaluate the effect of levothyroxine (LT4) replacement therapy on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) patients. Methods. This study was a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial and involved 33 significant and 330 mild SCH patients. All of the significant SCH patients received LT4 supplement. The mild SCH patients were grouped as LT4 treated or not. After 15 months of follow-up, prevalence of NAFLD in each group was reevaluated. Subgroup analysis was conducted in mild SCH patients with dyslipidemia. Results. After treatment with LT4, the prevalence of NAFLD in significant SCH patients reduced from 48.5% to 24.2% (p = 0.041). In mild SCH patients, prevalence of NAFLD and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was not significantly affected by LT4 supplementation. Nonetheless, mild SCH patients with dyslipidemia who received LT4 treatment experienced decreases in the prevalence of NAFLD and serum ALT levels (p < 0.05 for both). In contrast, these parameters remained comparably stable in patients who were not treated. Conclusion. LT4 supplementation has benefits on NAFLD in significant SCH patients or mild SCH patients with dyslipidemia. For NAFLD patients with SCH, appropriate supplementation of LT4 may be an effective means of controlling NAFLD. The original trial was registered with (NCT01848171).

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