Elevated fasting plasma C-peptide occurs in non-diabetic individuals with fatty liver, irrespective of insulin resistance

G. Perseghin, A. Caumo, G. Lattuada, F. De Cobelli, G. Ntali, A. Esposito, E. Belloni, T. Canu, F. Ragogna, P. Scifo, A. Del Maschio, L. Luzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims Studies have pointed to insulin resistance as a pathogenic factor in fatty liver. Although pancreatic B-cell function is believed to be involved, its role is unclear. This study was undertaken to test whether fasting C-peptide, an index of fasting B-cell function, was related to intra-hepatic fat (IHF) content in non-diabetic humans. Methods We assessed, retrospectively, fasting plasma C-peptide concentration in 31 patients with fatty liver and 62 individuals without fatty liver. The IHF content was measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ( 1H-MRS), while insulin sensitivity was estimated based on fasting plasma glucose and insulin with the homestasis model assessment (HOMA) 2 method. Results Age, sex and body mass index (BMI) were not different between groups. Patients with fatty liver had higher fasting insulin (P <0.01), C-peptide (P <0.005) and lower insulin sensitivity (HOMA2-%S). Fasting insulin alone explained 14% of the IHF content variability (P <0.001); inclusion of fasting C-peptide in multivariate regression explained up to 32% (P <0.001). A subgroup analysis was performed by matching 1 : 1 for HOMA2-%S. These data were analysed by conditional logistic regression which showed that, when HOMA2-%S was matched between groups, fasting C-peptide remained the only significant predictor of fatty liver. Conclusions Non-diabetic individuals with fatty liver are characterized by increased fasting plasma C-peptide concentration, irrespective of their insulin resistant state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-854
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009


  • Free fatty acids
  • Homeostasis model assessment
  • Intra-hepatic fat
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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