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, Hae Yoon 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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 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
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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