Sarcopenia recognises insulin resistance and obesity as risk factors, and is frequently associated with cardiometabolic disorders, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Dr Petta and colleagues from Italy tested the prevalence of sarcopenia and its relation with the severity of fibrosis, and the entire spectrum of liver histology in patients with NAFLD.
The research team considered 225 consecutive patients with histological diagnosis of NAFLD.
The skeletal muscle index, a validated measure of sarcopenia, was assessed by bioelectrical impedance analysis.
|Prevalence of sarcopenia showed a linear increase with the severity of fibrosis|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The team defined sarcopenia as a skeletal muscle mass index ≤37 in males and ≤28 in females.
The researchers noted that prevalence of sarcopenia showed a linear increase with the severity of fibrosis, and severe fibrosis was more than doubled in sarcopenia.
After adjusting for confounders, the association of sarcopenia with severe fibrosis was maintained, together with age > 50, IFG/Diabetes, and NASH.
Similarly, the team observed a significant association was found between sarcopenia and NASH, steatosis severity, and ballooning, but only the association with severe steatosis was maintained after adjusting for confounders.
Dr Petta's team concluded, "In Western patients with NAFLD, with high prevalence of metabolic disorders and advanced liver disease, sarcopenia was associated with the severity of fibrosis and steatosis, independently of hepatic and metabolic risk factors."
"Studies are needed to assess the impact of interventions to reduce sarcopenia on NAFLD progression."