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Liver steatosis and the risk of albuminuria: the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis



To measure association between hepatic fat and albuminuria (an early marker of renal injury) in individuals without diabetes or hypertension.


2,281 individuals in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis without diabetes or hypertension, renal disease, or excess alcohol consumption underwent computed tomography (CT) for assessment of liver attenuation (marker of hepatic lipid content) and urinalysis (for albuminuria) at initial study visit, with assessment of incident and prevalent albuminuria by logistic regression in follow-up.


After adjustment for age, gender, race, smoking, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and body mass index, individuals with less liver fat (higher liver CT attenuation) had a lower probability of having albuminuria at Exam 1 (OR per 10 unit increase in attenuation 0.77, 95 % CI 0.61-0.97, P = 0.02). At median 9.3 years follow-up, albuminuria was identified in 129 individuals were (5.8 %). In fully adjusted models (with age, smoking, body mass index, blood pressure, diabetes and hypertension as time-dependent covariates), lower liver attenuation (greater liver fat) was associated with higher risk of incident albuminuria (OR 0.79, 95 % CI 0.66-0.94, P = 0.008).


Hepatic attenuation is associated with prevalent and incident albuminuria, an early, potent risk factor for renal risk in a population not clearly at risk for future renal failure.

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