Circulating sclerostin and Dickkopf-1 levels in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
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There is increasing evidence for bone-liver interplay. The main aim of this study was to determine serum sclerostin and Dickkopf (DKK)-1 levels in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and their association with the disease severity. Patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD, 13 with nonalcoholic simple steatosis (SS) and 14 with steatohepatitis (NASH), and 20 gender-, age-, body mass index- and waist circumference-matched controls were enrolled. Serum sclerostin, DKK-1, bone turnover markers, vitamin D, insulin and standard biochemical and hematologic parameters were measured; lumbar spinal dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was performed. We observed that there was a progressive decline in serum sclerostin levels from the controls (76.1 ± 6.8) to SS (53.5 ± 6.4) and NASH (46.0 ± 8.1 pmol/l) patients (p = 0.009); in adjusted pairwise comparisons, sclerostin was significantly higher in the controls than in NASH patients (p = 0.012). Although serum DKK-1 did not differ between groups (p = 0.135), there was a trend toward U-shaped distribution (controls 35.8 ± 2.8; SS 27.3 ± 2.9; NASH 36.8 ± 4.4 pmol/l). Higher DKK-1 levels were independently associated with NASH. Regarding specific histological lesions, DKK-1 levels were marginally lower in NAFLD patients with lower (≤33 %) than higher (>33 %) steatosis grade (27.7 ± 3.1 and 38.8 ± 4.7 pmol/l, respectively; p = 0.049). No other significant difference was observed within histological lesions. In conclusion, serum sclerostin levels were lower in NASH patients than in controls. DKK-1 levels were independently associated with NASH in NAFLD patients. The potential importance of these findings indicates a possible bone-liver interaction and warrants further investigation.
KeywordsBone turnover markers Dickkopf-1 Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis Sclerostin
Conflict of interest
All authors have no conflicts of interest.
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