School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Effect of Insulin Resistance on Abdominal Obesity, Liver Fat Infiltration, and Body Mass Index in Youngsters

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Aim: Evaluate insulin resistance (IR) as a mediator of the effect of body fat distribution on liver fat infiltration and stiffness (LSt) in young adults using structural equation modeling (SEM).

Methods: We invited 500 first year students from two universities and evaluated their family history to determine the risk for cardiometabolic disease. Of these, 174 students (age 19 ± 1 years) were assessed for total body fat percentage (BF%), LSt, fat infiltration (Coefficient attenuated parameter CAP), and serum biochemical analysis. We performed a mediation analysis using two different structural equation models to determine the relationship between BMI, BF%, abdominal obesity (AO), IR, LSt, and fat infiltration using standardized β coefficients. The symbol "->" means "explains/causes".

Results: Model#1 supported that mediation analysis and had a better fit than the direct effect. AO->IR (b = 0.62, p = 0.005), AO->CAP (b = 0.63, pIR (b = 0.23, p = 0.007), with negligible effect of BMI on CAP and IR. Model#2 showed direct effect of BMI on LSt was a better fit than mediation. BMI->LSt (b = 0.17, p = 0.05) but no effect AO->LSt. Interestingly, LSt->IR (b = 0.18, p = 0.001), but bi-directional IR->LSt (b = 0.23, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: AO and BMI in young adults have differential phenotypic effects on liver CAP and LSt. Visceral fat had a direct effect on IR and CAP. Meanwhile, BMI was associated with LSt. Our findings shed light on the complex interplay of factors influencing liver stiffness, particularly in young individuals. Further research is needed to elucidate the precise mechanisms underlying these associations and their implications for liver health.


Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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