Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with obesity and insulin resistance; however, there is a group of non-obese patients with NAFLD that need to be characterized. Our aim was to evaluate the factors associated with NAFLD in non-obese subjects in a third-level hospital.
A comparative cross-sectional study was performed. Participants were divided into four groups: non-obese without NAFLD (group 1), non-obese with NAFLD (group 2), obese without NAFLD (group 3), and obese with NAFLD (group 4). We evaluated the effect of clinical and biochemical characteristics with the disease by groups using a multinomial regression model and a 2K factorial analysis.
We included 278 participants. Low platelet–lymphocyte ratio (PLR) as a novel parameter associated with NAFLD in non-obese subjects. Age, uric acid, alanine transaminase (ALT), high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, and neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio (NLR) were other related parameters (akaike information criterion = 557). NLR had the larger OR in groups with NAFLD (lean with NAFLD 7.12, obese with NAFLD 13.02). The 2k factorial design found inverse effect on PLR by NAFLD (effect –21.89, P < 0.001), which was higher than BMI (effect –1.33, P < 0.045).
Our study found that PLR is a novel parameter with inverse correlation with NAFLD in non-obese patients. Other related parameters are age, hyperuricemia, elevation of ALT and NLR, and low HDL-cholesterol.