The patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3) rs738409 variant is associated with histologic disease severity in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); however, whether the PNPLA3 genotype has an effect on susceptibility of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) from NAFLD among severely obese patients remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of the PNPLA3 genotype on NASH in severely obese Asian patients with NAFLD.
The PNPLA3 rs738409 genotype was determined in 181 severely obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery. The diagnosis of NASH and the NAFLD activity score (NAS) were determined by liver histopathology.
Of the 181 patients, 29 (16.0%), 60 (33.2%), and 92 (50.8%) were in the non-NAFLD, steatosis, and NASH groups, respectively. The PNPLA3 rs738409 GG genotype was associated with higher liver enzymes and a higher risk for NASH (odds ratio [OR], 3.72; 95% CI, 1.25-11.05). The GG genotype was also associated with histologic severity of NAFLD, including higher steatosis grade (OR, 9.94; 95% CI, 2.20-44.83 for patients with grade 3 steatosis) and NAS (OR, 11.49; 95% CI, 2.50-52.83 for patients with a NAS ≥5). Finally, multiple logistic regression also showed that the GG genotype was an independent risk factor for NASH (OR, 3.58; 95% CI, 1.15-11.12) in NAFLD patients.
The PNPLA3 rs738409 GG genotype increases susceptibility of NASH in severely obese Asians with NAFLD and correlates to histologic severity of NAFLD.