ESPE Abstracts (2015) 84 P-2-449

Risk for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Young Adults Born Preterm

Laura M Breij, Gerthe F Kerkhof & Anita C S Hokken-Koelega


Erasmus MC/Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is considered the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Accelerated catch-up in weight during infancy in subjects born term has been associated with increased risk for NAFLD in adulthood, but this association has not been studied in subjects born preterm.

Objective and hypotheses: To investigate the associations of birth weight, gain in weight for length and accelerated catch-up in weight in the first year after term age with the fatty liver index (FLI) in young adults born preterm.

Method: In 162 adults aged 18–24 years with a gestational age <36 weeks, we determined BMI, waist circumference, serum triglyceride, gamma-glutamyltransferase (γ-GT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotranserase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AS) levels. FLI (0–100) was calculated. Associations between birth weight SDS, first year gain in weight- and length SDS after term age and FLI were assessed. In addition, we performed comparisons between subjects with and without accelerated catch-up in weight in the first year after term age. A FLI-score (low, intermediate, high risk for NAFLD) was assigned to each participant to determine clinical relevance, and ordinal regression analyses were performed.

Results: Accelerated gain in weight in the first three months after term age was associated with FLI as a continuous variable, whereas gestational age and low birth weight were not. Of the subjects with accelerated catch-up in weight for length after term age, 7.3% had a high FLI at the age of 21 years, whereas none of the subjects without accelerated catch-up in weight had a high FLI.

Conclusion: Our study shows that accelerated infant weight gain after term age is associated with increased risk for developing NAFLD in young adults born preterm.

Funding: The study was financially supported by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (A C S H-K. received the ASPASIA award, Grant 015 000 088), and by grants from Revolving Fund 2001, Trustfonds, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Jan Dekker-stichting/Dr Ludgardine Bouwmanstichting, Stichting De Drie Lichten and an investigator-initiated research grant provided by Pfizer Inc., USA.

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