Publicaciones científicas

Predictive Value of Serum Ferritin in Combination with Alanine Aminotransferase and Glucose Levels for Noninvasive Assessment of NAFLD: Fatty Liver in Obesity (FLiO) Study

08-nov-2020 | Revista: Diagnostics

Cristina Galarregui  1 , Bertha Araceli Marin-Alejandre  1 , Nuria Perez-Diaz-Del-Campo  1 , Irene Cantero  1 , J Ignacio Monreal  2   3 , Mariana Elorz  2   4 , Alberto Benito-Boillos  2   4 , José Ignacio Herrero  2   5   6 , Josep A Tur  7   8 , J Alfredo Martínez  1   2   7 , M Angeles Zulet  1   2   7 , Itziar Abete  1   2   7


The identification of affordable noninvasive biomarkers for the diagnosis and characterization of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major challenge for the research community. This study aimed to explore the usefulness of ferritin as a proxy biomarker of NAFLD condition, alone or in combination with other routine biochemical parameters.

Subjects with overweight/obesity and ultrasound-confirmed liver steatosis (n = 112) from the Fatty Liver in Obesity (FLiO) study were assessed. The hepatic evaluation considered magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasonography, and credited routine blood liver biomarkers. Anthropometry and body composition, dietary intake (by means of a validated 137-item food frequency questionnaire), and specific biochemical markers were also determined.

Serum ferritin levels were analyzed using a chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay kit. Lower serum ferritin concentrations were associated with general better liver health and nutritional status.

The evaluation of ferritin as a surrogate of liver damage by means of quantile regression analyses showed a positive association with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (β = 19.21; p ≤ 0.001), liver fat content (β = 8.70; p = 0.008), and hepatic iron (β = 3.76; p ≤ 0.001), after adjusting for potential confounders. In receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses, the panel combination of blood ferritin, glucose, and ALT showed the best prediction for liver fat mass (area under the curve (AUC) 0.82).

A combination of ferritin and ALT showed the higher predictive ability for estimating liver iron content (AUC 0.73). This investigation demonstrated the association of serum ferritin with liver health as well as with glucose and lipid metabolism markers in subjects with NAFLD. Current findings led to the identification of ferritin as a potential noninvasive predictive biomarker of NAFLD, whose surrogate value increased when combined with other routine biochemical measurements (glucose/ALT).

CITA DEL ARTÍCULO  Diagnostics (Basel). 2020 Nov 8;10(11):917.  doi: 10.3390/diagnostics10110917