Basic Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2018. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. Dec 27, 2018; 10(12): 924-933
Published online Dec 27, 2018. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v10.i12.924
Body mass index and its effects on liver fat content in overweight and obese young adults by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique
Duanghathai Pasanta, Montree Tungjai, Sirirat Chancharunee, Warayuth Sajomsang, Suchart Kothan
Duanghathai Pasanta, Montree Tungjai, Suchart Kothan, Department of Radiologic Technology, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Sirirat Chancharunee, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Warayuth Sajomsang, National Nanotechnology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand Science Park, Pathum Thani 12120, Thailand
Author contributions: Pasanta D performed the majority of experiments and analyzed the data; Chancharunee S, Tungjai M, Sajomsang W and Kothan S designed and coordinated the research.
Supported by Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, No. 6593(4)1180.
Institutional review board statement: Approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand (AMSEC-61EX-016).
Informed consent statement: All study participants provided informed written consent prior to study enrollment.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Suchart Kothan, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Radiologic Technology, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University, 110 Intawaroros Rd., Sripoom, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand.
Telephone: +66-53-949213 Fax: +66-53-949207
Received: June 11, 2018
Peer-review started: June 11, 2018
First decision: July 11, 2018
Revised: August 3, 2018
Accepted: August 21, 2018
Article in press: August 21, 2018
Published online: December 27, 2018

To assess the association between liver fat content (LFC) and weight status in young adults using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) technique.


Seventy-eight healthy young adults, between 19-30 years of age participated in this study. This group was then separated into a control of 39 subjects and an overweight/obese group (OW/OB group) consisting of 39 subjects. Blood biochemical quantity and 1H MRS was performed for LFC assessment.


LFC was found to be almost three times higher in OW/OB group when compared to the control group. A 48.7% incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the OW/OB group was found. Blood biochemical measurements showed statistically higher low-density lipoproteins and triglyceride, lower high-density lipoproteins, and increased glycosylated hemoglobin and fasting glucose in the OW/OB group. Body mass index was a significant independent predictor for LFC after adjusting for age and sex (multiple linear regression; β = 0.459, P < 0.001).


Due to the prevalence of high LFC in the OW/OB group, it can be proposed that weight gain and obesity are sensitive indicators of high hepatic fat content.

Keywords: Young adults, Overweight, Obesity, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Body mass index, Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Cholesterol

Core tip: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common chronic liver diseases. The prevalence of NAFLD in young adults is a growing public health concern. Interestingly, the liver fat content (LFC) of an overweight/obese group was approximately three times higher than the control group. This result suggests that obesity can increase LFC and is a risk factor for higher NAFLD in overweight and obese young adults. This current study also demonstrated the importance of Body Mass Index as a tool for risk prevention and control of NAFLD and metabolic syndromes.