Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by deposition of lipids in the hepatic parenchyma exceeding 5% of liver weight in the absence of other conditions, such as viral or alcoholic hepatitis and metabolic disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common form of chronic liver disease in several countries. In addition to liver complications, recent studies have shown a relation between liver fat and sarcopenia.
Objective: Determine the association between sarcopenia and the severity of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis diagnosed by abdominal ultrasonography.
Methods: A clinical, cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of male and female adults (18 to 70 years of age) submitted to ultrasonography for the investigation of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis. Evaluations were also performed for the determination of upper and lower limb muscle strength. Data analysis was performed with the aid of the SPSS 22.0 program and involved ANCOVA and the Bonferroni post hoc test, with P-value <0.05 considered indicative of statistical significance.
Results: One hundred two patients were submitted to abdominal ultrasonography, 57.8% of whom presented some degree of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis. The presence and degree of fatty liver infiltration were significantly associated with the sarcopenic index, determined by the ratio between upper and lower limb strength and BMI (P=0.009 and post-test P=0.028 for upper limbs; P=0.006 and post-test P=0.013 for lower limbs).
Conclusion: In the present study, an association was found between the sarcopenic index and non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, with an inversely proportional relation between this index and the severity of fatty infiltration. This finding offers further evidence of the metabolic interaction of the liver, adipose tissue and muscle.