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.
- Free fatty acids
- Homeostasis model assessment
- Intra-hepatic fat
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism