Risk factors for fatty liver in the multicenter AIDS cohort study

Jennifer C. Price*, Eric C. Seaberg, Rachel Latanich, Matthew J. Budoff, Lawrence A. Kingsley, Frank J. Palella, Mallory D. Witt, Wendy S. Post, Chloe L. Thio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Objectives: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) may increase the risk of fatty liver disease. We determined the prevalence of and risk factors for fatty liver by comparing HIV-infected men with HIV-uninfected men who have sex with men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). Methods: In 719 MACS participants who consumed less than three alcoholic drinks daily, fatty liver was defined as a liver-to-spleen attenuation ratio <1 on noncontrast computed tomography (CT). We genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms in the patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) gene and in other genes previously associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Risk factors for fatty liver were determined using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Among 254 HIV-uninfected men and 465 HIV-infected men, 56% were White with median age 53 years and median body mass index 25.8 kg/m 2. The vast majority of HIV-infected men (92%) were on ART, and 87% of the HIV-infected men were treated with a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor for a median duration of 8.5 years. Overall, 15% of the cohort had fatty liver, which was more common in the HIV-uninfected compared with the HIV-infected men (19 vs. 13%, P=0.02). In multivariable analysis, HIV infection was associated with a lower prevalence of fatty liver (odds ratio (OR)=0.44, P=0.002), whereas a higher prevalence of fatty liver was seen in participants with PNPLA3 (rs738409) non-CC genotype (OR=2.06, P=0.005), more abdominal visceral adipose tissue (OR=1.08 per 10 cm 2, P<0.001), and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) ≥4.9 (OR=2.50, P=0.001). Among HIV-infected men, PNPLA3 (rs738409) non-CC genotype was associated with a higher prevalence of fatty liver (OR=3.30, P=0.001) and cumulative dideoxynucleoside exposure (OR=1.44 per 5 years, P=0.02). Conclusions: CT-defined fatty liver is common among men at risk for HIV infection and is associated with greater visceral adiposity, HOMA-IR, and PNPLA3 (rs738409). Although treated HIV infection was associated with a lower prevalence of fatty liver, prolonged exposure to dideoxynucleoside analogs is associated with higher prevalence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-704
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology


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