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Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease where liver biopsy remains the gold standard for diagnosis. Here we aimed to evaluate the role of circulating adiponectin, leptin, and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels as non-invasive NAFLD biomarkers and assess their correlation with the metabolome. Materials and Methods: Leptin, adiponectin, and IGF-1 serum levels were measured by ELISA in two independent cohorts of biopsy-proven obese NAFLD patients and healthy-liver controls (discovery: 38 NAFLD, 13 controls; validation: 194 NAFLD, 31 controls) and correlated with clinical data, histology, genetic parameters, and serum metabolomics. Results: In both cohorts, leptin increased in NAFLD vs. controls (discovery: AUROC 0.88; validation: AUROC 0.83; p < 0.0001). The leptin levels were similar between obese and non-obese healthy controls, suggesting that obesity is not a confounding factor. In the discovery cohort, adiponectin was lower in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) vs. non-alcoholic fatty liver (AUROC 0.87; p < 0.0001). For the validation cohort, significance was attained for homozygous for PNPLA3 allele c.444C (AUROC 0.63; p < 0.05). Combining adiponectin with specific serum lipids improved the assay performance (AUROC 0.80; p < 0.0001). For the validation cohort, IGF-1 was lower with advanced fibrosis (AUROC 0.67, p < 0.05), but combination with international normalized ratio (INR) and ferritin increased the assay performance (AUROC 0.81; p < 0.01). Conclusion: Serum leptin discriminates NAFLD, and adiponectin combined with specific lipids stratifies NASH. IGF-1, INR, and ferritin distinguish advanced fibrosis. Copyright © 2021 Marques, Afonso, Bierig, Duarte-Ramos, Santos-Laso, Jimenez-Agüero, Eizaguirre, Bujanda, Pareja, Luís, Costa, Machado, Alonso, Arretxe, Alustiza, Krawczyk, Lammert, Tiniakos, Flehmig, Cortez-Pinto, Banales, Castro, Normann and Rodrigues.


Vanda Marques, Marta B Afonso, Nina Bierig, Filipa Duarte-Ramos, Álvaro Santos-Laso, Raul Jimenez-Agüero, Emma Eizaguirre, Luis Bujanda, Maria J Pareja, Rita Luís, Adília Costa, Mariana V Machado, Cristina Alonso, Enara Arretxe, José M Alustiza, Marcin Krawczyk, Frank Lammert, Dina G Tiniakos, Bertram Flehmig, Helena Cortez-Pinto, Jesus M Banales, Rui E Castro, Andrea Normann, Cecília M P Rodrigues. Adiponectin, Leptin, and IGF-1 Are Useful Diagnostic and Stratification Biomarkers of NAFLD. Frontiers in medicine. 2021;8:683250

PMID: 34249975

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