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Maarten E Tushuizen, Mathijs C Bunck, Petra J W Pouwels, Saskia Bontemps, Andrea Mari and Michaela Diamant


Hepatic steatosis and obesity are components of the metabolic syndrome and risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM). We studied how liver fat and body fat distribution relate to various aspects of β-cell function.


In 12 men with T2DM, 10 men with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and 14 age- and body mass index-matched controls, we measured body fat distribution and liver fat by magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed to calculate insulin secretory rate (ISR) by C-peptide deconvolution, and β-cell function using a mathematical model that describes ISR as a function of absolute glucose levels (insulin secretory tone and glucose sensitivity), the glucose rate of change (rate sensitivity), and a potentiation factor.


Waist circumference and the various body fat compartments did not differ among groups. IGT had the highest total and late phase insulin secretion (P<0.001), whereas patients had the lowest insulinogenic index adjusted for insulin resistance (P=0.006). In spite of the hypersecretion, IGT had β-cell glucose sensitivity, rate sensitivity, and potentiation similar to controls. Liver fat content was highest in diabetic patients (P=0.004) and showed the strongest association with total and late phase of insulin secretion in the IGT group (r=0.657, P=0.039 and r=0.732, P=0.016 respectively). Model β-cell function variables showed no association with liver fat or body fat compartments.


These data suggest that, in spite of the association of central adiposity and liver fat with T2DM risk, additional, hitherto unknown factors may contribute to β-cell dysfunction in susceptible humans.

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Merel M Ruissen, Anne Linde Mak, Ulrich Beuers, Maarten E Tushuizen and Adriaan G Holleboom

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a growing health problem with a global prevalence of over 25% and prevalence rates of over 60% in high-risk populations. It is considered the hepatic component of the metabolic syndrome and is associated with an increased risk of the development of various liver-associated and cardiometabolic complications. Given the complexity of NAFLD and associated comorbidities and complications, treatment requires interventions from a variety of different healthcare specialties. However, many clinicians are currently insufficiently aware of the potential harm and severity of NAFLD and associated comorbidities, complications and the steps that should be taken when NAFLD is suspected. Recognizing which patients suffer from non-progressive simple steatosis, metabolically active NASH with high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and which patients have a high risk of developing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma is important. Unfortunately, this can be difficult and guidelines towards the optimal diagnostic and therapeutic approach are ambivalent. Here we review the pathogenesis, diagnostics and treatment of NAFLD and discuss how multidisciplinary care path development could move forward.