Circulating lipidomic alterations in obese and non-obese subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Youngae Jung, Min Kyung Lee, Puneet Puri, Bo Kyung Koo, Sae Kyung Joo, Seo Young Jang, Dong Hyeon Lee, Yong Jin Jung, Byeong Gwan Kim, Kook Lae Lee, Tae Sik Park, Ki Tae Kang, Do Hyun Ryu, Sang Won Kang, Donghee Kim, Sohee Oh, Won Kim, Geum Sook Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects obese and non-obese individuals. However, mechanisms underlying non-obese non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) remain unclear. Aims: To attempt to identify metabolic perturbations associated with non-obese and obese NAFLD using a lipidomics approach. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of 361 subjects with biopsy-proven NAFLD (157 NAFL and 138 NASH) and healthy controls (n = 66) was performed. Individuals were categorised as obese or non-obese based on the Asian cut-off for body mass index. Circulating lipidomic profiling of sera was performed based on the histological severity of NAFLD. Circulating lipidomic alterations were validated with an independent validation set (154 NAFLD subjects [93 NAFL and 61 NASH] and 21 healthy controls). Results: Saturated sphingomyelin (SM) species were significantly associated with visceral adiposity in non-obese NAFLD (SM d38:0; P < 0.001) but not in obese NAFLD. Additionally, SM levels were significantly associated with systemic and adipose tissue insulin resistance (SM d38:0; P = 0.002 and <0.001, respectively). Five potential lipid metabolites for non-obese subjects and seven potential lipids for obese subjects were selected to predict NAFLD and NASH. These lipid combinations showed good diagnostic performance for non-obese (area under the curve [AUC] for NAFLD/NASH = 0.916/0.813) and obese (AUC for NAFLD/NASH = 0.967/0.812) subjects. Moreover, distinctly altered patterns of diacylglycerol (DAG), triacylglycerol (TAG) and SM levels were confirmed in the validation set depending on the histological severity of NAFLD. Conclusion: Non-obese and obese NAFLD subjects exhibit unique circulating lipidomic signatures, including DAGs, TAGs and SMs. These lipid combinations may be useful biomarkers for non-obese and obese NAFLD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1603-1614
Number of pages12
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


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