Leptin/adiponectin ratio correlates with hepatic steatosis but not arterial stiffness in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in Japanese population

Cytokine. 2020 Feb;126:154927. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2019.154927. Epub 2019 Nov 27.


Background and aims: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of mortality in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of leptin-to-adiponectin (L/A) ratio with hepatic steatosis and arterial stiffness in NAFLD.

Methods: The subjects were 871 Japanese adults who participated in a health survey. Dietary intake, body composition, lipid profile, serum interleukin-6 (IL-6), leptin, and adiponectin were analyzed. NAFLD was defined as fatty liver on ultrasonography in the absence of other causes of steatosis. Arterial stiffness was evaluated by the brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV).

Results: The subjects with NAFLD had a greater body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage (BFP); a higher intake of daily energy (kcal) and carbohydrates; and a higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. The subjects with NAFLD had higher serum leptin and lower serum adiponectin concentrations and a higher L/A ratio than subjects without NAFLD. The L/A ratio increased with increasing severity of steatosis. The L/A ratio showed positive correlations with BMI and BFP, and a negative correlation with age. Women had higher L/A ratio and BFP levels than men regardless of the presence or absence of NAFLD. There was a weak positive correlation between baPWV and severity of steatosis. BaPWV was strongly correlated with age, while no relation was found between baPWV and L/A ratio. IL-6 level was correlated with baPVW and age, while the correlation between Il and 6 level and L/A ratio was very weak. The L/A ratio was correlated with triglycerides and the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol.

Conclusion: L/A ratio and arterial stiffness were associated with the severity of steatosis, whereas there was no correlation between L/A ratio and arterial stiffness in NAFLD. These findings suggest that not only leptin and adiponectin but also other factors might be involved in the pathogenesis for atherosclerosis in NAFLD.

Keywords: Adiponectin; Arterial stiffness; Brief-type self-administered diet history questionnaire; Interleukin-6; Leptin; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood*
  • Ankle Brachial Index
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Japan
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology*


  • Adiponectin
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin