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Association Between Serum Hemoglobin Levels and Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in a Mexican Population

Eva Juárez-Hernández, Norberto C. Chávez-Tapia, Diana C. Brizuela-Alcántara, Misael Uribe, Martha H. Ramos-Ostos, Natalia Nuño-Lámbarri


Introduction and aim. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is closely associated with overweight and obesity, becoming one of the most prevalent hepatic diseases nowadays. Circulating hemoglobin (Hb) concentration is significantly higher in people with NAFLD, compared to healthy patients. While liver biopsy remains the gold standard for NAFLD diagnosis, it is not the best technique due to adverse events that may occur. Therefore it is important to find less invasive and more sensitive markers. This study aimed to determine the association of serum Hb levels in patients with steatosis and fibrosis as a noninvasive marker. Material and methods. A 1,186 patient cross-sectional study nested in a randomized clinical trial (NCT01874249) was conducted. Patients were diagnosed by ultrasound for hepatic steatosis and fibroscan for fibrosis; blood test and anthropometric measurements were also assessed. Results. Serum Hb increased proportionally related to the steatosis level, being significantly higher in patients with severe steatosis than in patients with moderate and mild steatosis. Conclusion. Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease showed elevated levels of circulating Hb, evidence that suggests that Hb exerts a protective role, as it may act as an antioxidant and may counteract the adverse effects of this disease.

Key words. Antioxidant, Hepatic disease, Non-invasive markers, Steatosis

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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