Association between vascular inflammation and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Analysis by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography

Hyun Jung Lee, Chang-Hee Lee, Sungeun Kim, Soon Young Hwang, Ho Cheol Hong, Hyuk Soon Choi, Hye Soo Chung, Hye Jin Yoo, Ji A Seo, Sin Gon Kim, Nan Hee Kim, Sei-Hyun Baik, Dong Seop Choi, Kyung Mook Choi

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Background Growing evidence suggests that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with cardiovascular disease as well as metabolic syndrome. FDG-PET is a novel imaging technique that detects vascular inflammation, which may reflect rupture-prone vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. Methods Vascular inflammation was measured as the maximum target-to-background ratio (maxTBR), along with various cardiometabolic risk factors in 51 subjects with NAFLD, and compared with 100 age- and gender-matched subjects without NAFLD. The liver attenuation index (LAI), which was measured using computed tomography, was used as a parameter for the diagnosis of NAFLD. Results After adjusting for age and sex, both maxTBR and LAI values were associated with several cardiometabolic risk parameters. Furthermore, there was a significant inter-relationship between LAI and maxTBR values (r = − 0.227, P = 0.005). Individuals with NAFLD had higher maxTBR values than those without NAFLD (P = 0.026), although their carotid intima–media thickness (CIMT) values did not differ. The proportion of subjects with NAFLD showed a step-wise increment following the tertiles of maxTBR values (P for trend = 0.015). In multiple logistic regression analysis, maxTBR tertiles were independently associated with NAFLD after adjusting for age, gender, systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, glucose, BUN, creatinine and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (P = 0.030). However, their relationship was attenuated after further adjustment for waist circumference or high sensitive C-reactive protein. Conclusion Patients with NAFLD have an increased risk for vascular inflammation as measured via FDG-PET/CT even without difference in CIMT. (Clinical trials No. NCT01958411,

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, which is funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( 2012006363 ) (K.M.C.), the Brain Korea 21 Project of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, Republic of Korea (K.M.C. and S.H.B.) (HI10V-0007-010,013), and a grant from Korea University (K.M.C.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Inflammation
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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