Erythrocyte membrane fatty acid profile & serum cytokine levels in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Indian J Med Res 2018 04;147(4):352-360

Gastrointestinal & Liver Disease Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Background & Objectives: Fatty acids may affect the expression of genes, and this process is influenced by sex hormones. Cytokines are involved in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), so this study was aimed to assess the association of erythrocyte membrane fatty acids with three cytokines and markers of hepatic injury in NAFLD patients and to explore whether these associations were the same in both sexes.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 62 consecutive patients (32 men and 30 women) with NAFLD during the study period. Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin 6 (IL-6), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase were measured in a fasting serum sample, and Fibroscan was conducted for each individual. Gas chromatography was used to measure erythrocyte membrane fatty acids. Univariate and multiple linear regressions were used to analyze data.

Results: In men, IL-6 had a significant (P <0.05) positive association with total ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). In women, TNF-α had a significant positive association with total ω-3 (P <0.05) and ω-6 (P <0.01) PUFAs, IL-6 had a significant (P <0.05) positive association with total monounsaturated fatty acids and MCP-1 had a significant positive association with total trans-fatty acids (P <0.05). No significant associations were observed between erythrocyte membrane fatty acids and liver enzymes or Fibroscan report in both sexes. In this study, women were significantly older than men [51 (42.75-55) vs 35.5 (29-52), P <0.01], so the associations were adjusted for age and other confounders.

Interpretation & Conclusions: Erythrocyte membrane fatty acid profile was not associated with serum liver enzymes or Fibroscan reports in NAFLD patients, but it had significant associations with serum TNF-α, IL-6 and MCP-1 and these associations were probably sex dependent.

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