There is a mechanistic link between the gut-derived metabolite trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) and obesity-related diseases, suggesting that the TMAO pathway may also be linked to the pathogenesis of obesity. The Visceral Adiposity Index (VAI), a gender-specific indicator of adipose dysfunction, and the Fatty Liver Index (FLI), a predictor of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), are early predictors of metabolic syndrome (MetS). In this cross-sectional observational study, we investigated TMAO levels in adults stratified according to Body Mass Index (BMI) and the association of TMAO with VAI and FLI. One hundred and thirty-seven adult subjects (59 males; 21–56 years) were enrolled. TMAO levels were detected using HPLC/MS analysis. Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HoMA-IR), VAI and FLI were included as cardio-metabolic indices. TMAO levels increased along with BMI and were positively associated with VAI and FLI, independently, on common potential covariates. The most sensitive and specific cut-offs for circulating levels of TMAO to predict the presence of NAFLD-FLI and MetS were ≥8.02 µM and ≥8.74 µM, respectively. These findings allow us to hypothesize a role of TMAO as an early biomarker of adipose dysfunction and NAFLD-FLI in all borderline conditions in which overt MetS is not present, and suggest that a specific cut-off of TMAO might help in identifying subjects at high risk of NAFLD.
- Fatty liver index (FLI)
- Metabolic syndrome (METS)
- Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)
- Visceral adiposity index (VAI)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics