High prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients with inflammatory bowel disease receiving anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy

Authors Alisa Likhitsup, Jason Dundulis, Shaya Ansari, Sruthi Patibandla, Colleen Hutton, Kevin Kennedy, John H. Helzberg, Rajiv Chhabra.


Background Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This study evaluated the prevalence of NAFLD and the associated risk factors among IBD patients who received anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy.

Methods Adult IBD patients receiving anti-TNF therapy (infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab, golimumab) were enrolled. Hepatic steatosis was assessed by abdominal ultrasound. Patients with a history of excessive alcohol or recent steroid use were excluded. Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed.

Results Eighty patients, 55% male, mean age 42±15 years, were enrolled. The sonographic prevalence of NAFLD was 54% (43/80), significantly higher than the general prevalence in the US adult population (30%) (P<0.0001). NAFLD patients had a significantly higher proportion of males, as well as greater body weight and body mass index, compared to non- NAFLD. The Crohns disease activity index (CDAI) was significantly higher among patients with NAFLD. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that a higher CDAI was independently associated with NAFLD, with an odds ratio of 1.6 (95% confidence interval 1.05-2.44; P=0.03).

Conclusions The presence of IBD is strongly associated with NAFLD. We identified a high prevalence of NAFLD among IBD patients receiving anti-TNF. CDAI was independently associated with hepatic steatosis. Further studies are still needed to evaluate the pathophysiology of NAFLD development and disease progression among IBD populations.

Keywords Hepatic steatosis, inflammatory bowel disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, antitumor necrosis factor

Ann Gastroenterol 2019; 32 (5): 463-468

Original Articles