Published online Apr 14, 2019. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i14.1741
Peer-review started: January 14, 2019
First decision: February 13, 2019
Revised: March 13, 2019
Accepted: March 15, 2019
Article in press: March 16, 2019
Published online: April 14, 2019
Patients with hypothalamic-pituitary disease have the feature of central obesity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia, and there is increased prevalence of liver dysfunction consistent with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in this population. The causes of hypopituitarism in the reported studies varied and combined pituitary hormone deficiency including central diabetes insipidus is much common in this population. This retrospective cross-sectional study was performed to analyze the clinical characteristics and related factors with NAFLD and cirrhosis in Chinese adult hypopituitary/panhypopituitary patients.
To analyze the clinical characteristics of and related risk factors for NAFLD in Chinese adult hypopituitary patients.
Adult Chinese patients with hypopituitarism and/or panhypopituitarism were enrolled at the Pituitary Center of Peking Union Medical College Hospital between August 2012 and April 2018. According to abdominal ultrasonography, these patients were divided into an NAFLD (-) group and an NAFLD (+) group, and the latter was further divided into an NAFLD group and a cirrhotic group. The data, such as patient characteristics, diagnosis, and treatment, were extracted from medical records, and statistical analysis was performed.
A total of 36 male and 14 female adult Chinese patients with hypopituitarism were included in this retrospective study; 43 (87.0%) of these patients exhibited growth hormone (GH) deficiency, and 39 (78.3%) had diabetes insipidus. A total of 27 (54.0%) patients were diagnosed with NAFLD, while seven patients were cirrhotic. No significant differences were noted in serum GH or insulin-like growth factor 1 among patients with cirrhosis, subjects with NAFLD, and those without NAFLD. However, plasma osmolality and serum sodium concentration of the cirrhotic patients were 314.9 mOsm/kgH2O and 151.0 mmol/L, respectively, which were significantly higher than those of the NAFLD patients (P = 0.036 and 0.042, respectively). Overweight/obesity and insulin resistance were common metabolic disorders in this population. The body mass index (BMI) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance parameters of the cirrhotic patients were 27.7 kg/m2 and 9.57, respectively, which were significantly higher than those of the patients without NAFLD (P = 0.011 and 0.044, respectively). A correlation analysis was performed, and fasting insulin concentration was positively associated with plasma osmolality in patients with NAFLD, after adjusting for gender, age, and BMI (r = 0.540, P = 0.046), but no correlation was noted in patients without NAFLD.
NAFLD is common in patients with hypopituitarism. Plasma osmolality and serum sodium levels of hypopituitary patients with cirrhosis are higher than those of subjects with NAFLD, and fasting insulin concentration is positively associated with plasma osmolality in patients with NAFLD, which suggests that hyperosmolality might be a contributor to the worsening of NAFLD in hypopituitary patients.
Core tip: Fifty-four percent of hypopituitary patients in this retrospective study were diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which was significantly higher than that of the general adult population in China. Growth hormone (GH) deficiency has been considered an important contributing factor to NAFLD in those patients. However, no significant differences were noted in GH or insulin-like growth factor 1 among patients with cirrhosis, subjects with NAFLD, and those without NAFLD in this study. Interestingly, we found that plasma osmolality and serum sodium concentration of the cirrhotic patients were significantly higher than those of the NAFLD patients. In addition, fasting insulin concentration was positively associated with plasma osmolality in patients with NAFLD. Additional studies are required to confirm that hyperosmolality may be a significant contributor to the worsening of NAFLD in hypopituitary patients.