Background: The aim of the study is to evaluate the cross-sectional association between serum ferritin level and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in a non-obese Chinese population.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed among 1,020 non-obese subjects (body mass index < 25 kg/m2) who took their annual health examination at the First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University. Serum ferritin level and other clinical and laboratory parameters were measured in the population. Liver ultrasound examinations were performed to diagnose NAFLD.
Results: Of the 1,020 enrolled participants, 148 (14.51%) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for NAFLD. Subjects with NAFLD had a higher level of serum ferritin than individuals without NAFLD in non-obese subjects. Serum ferritin level was significantly and positively correlated with parameters of MS (BMI, SBP, TG and FPG) in NAFLD group. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that serum ferritin level was significantly associated with the risk factor for NAFLD. After adjusting for confounders, serum ferritin level was an independent factor predicting advanced fibrosis (FIB-4 ≥ 1.3) in NAFLD participants.
Conclusions: Increased serum ferritin level is significantly associated with NAFLD, and elevated serum ferritin level is an independent factor predicting advanced fibrosis for NAFLD in a non-obese Chinese population.