Resistin expression correlates with steatohepatitis in morbidly obese patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Surgical Endoscopy








Adipokines; Bariatric surgery; Genomics; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Resistin


Background: Morbidly obese patients are at risk for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) even in the absence of risk factors for liver disease. Unfortunately, NASH is usually not clinically evident, and a definitive, noninvasive test for NASH does not exist. Resistin, a cytokine originating from adipose tissue, is involved in insulin resistance and also initiates proinflammatory signaling from hepatic stellate cells. This study explores the relationship between resistin expression and liver pathology in bariatric surgery patients. Methods: Blood samples from 30 patients undergoing bariatric surgery were collected. Total RNA was extracted and cDNA was synthesized. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to quantify relative gene expression using 18s rRNA gene as an internal control. Wedge liver biopsies from these patients were sectioned and stained. Based on a previously published scoring method, biopsies were assigned an overall NASH severity score and subscores for steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. Results were analyzed by using Student's t test. Results: Resistin mRNA levels ranged from 0.5 to 9.7. A group of five patients with very high resistin expression (>4) was identified. These patients had a significantly higher average NASH score compared with the rest of the group (7.9 vs. 4.48, p = 0.019). Steatosis and inflammation scores were significantly higher in the high-resistin group (p < 0.05 for both comparisons). There also was a trend toward higher fibrosis score in this group, which approached statistical significance (p = 0.051). Conclusions: In morbidly obese patients, high resistin expression in serum is associated with hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. The development of elevated resistin expression may represent a link between obesity and the onset of steatohepatitis. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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