Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and measures of early brain health in middle-aged adults: The CARDIA study

Lisa B. VanWagner*, James G. Terry, Lisa S. Chow, Amy C. Alman, Hakmook Kang, Katherine H. Ingram, Christina Shay, Cora E. Lewis, R. Nick Bryan, Lenore J. Launer, J. Jeffrey Carr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To assess associations between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and measures of brain health in a population-based sample of adults. Methods: Participants from the CARDIA study (Y25 exam; age 43-55 years) with concurrent computed tomography quantification of liver fat, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and brain magnetic resonance (MR) images were included (n = 505). NAFLD was identified after exclusion of other causes of liver fat. Total tissue volume (TTV) and gray matter cerebral blood flow (GM-CBF) were estimated using 3T brain MR images. Results: NAFLD prevalence was 18%. NAFLD was associated with lower TTV and GM-CBF after adjusting for intracranial volume, demographics, and health behaviors (P < 0.04 for all). In models with additional adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, the association of NAFLD with GM-CBF remained significant (P = 0.04) but was attenuated after adjustment for VAT (P = 0.06) and eliminated with BMI (P = 0.20). NAFLD was not associated with TTV after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors (P = 0.10) or additional adjustment for VAT (P = 0.14) or BMI (P = 0.05). Conclusions: NAFLD is negatively associated with early brain health as assessed by MR measures of structure (TTV) and perfusion (GM-CBF). BMI and VAT attenuated this relationship, providing insight into the potential metabolic role of liver fat in brain health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-651
Number of pages10
JournalObesity
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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    VanWagner, L. B., Terry, J. G., Chow, L. S., Alman, A. C., Kang, H., Ingram, K. H., Shay, C., Lewis, C. E., Bryan, R. N., Launer, L. J., & Jeffrey Carr, J. (2017). Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and measures of early brain health in middle-aged adults: The CARDIA study. Obesity, 25(3), 642-651. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.21767