We hypothesized that liver markers and the fatty liver index (FLI) are predictive of incident hypertension and that hepatic insulin resistance plays a role.Methods:
The association between liver markers and incident hypertension was analysed in two longitudinal studies of normotensive individuals, 2565 from the 9-year data from an epidemiological study on the insulin resistance cohort and the 321 from the 3-year ‘Relationship between Insulin Sensitivity and Cardiovascular disease’ cohort who had a measure of endogenous glucose production. The FLI is calculated from BMI, waist circumference, triglycerides and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and the hepatic insulin resistance index from endogenous glucose production and fasting insulin.Results:
The incidence of hypertension increased across the quartiles groups of both baseline GGT and alanine aminotransferase. After adjustment for sex, age, waist circumference, fasting glucose, smoking and alcohol intake, only GGT was significantly related with incident hypertension [standardized odds ratio: 1.21; 95% confidence interval (1.10–1.34); P = 0.0001]. The change in GGT levels over the follow-up was also related with an increased risk of hypertension, independently of changes in body weight. FLI analysed as a continuous value, or FLI at least 60 at baseline were predictive of incident hypertension in the multivariable model. In the RISC cohort, the hepatic insulin resistance index was positively related with the risk of 3-year incident hypertension [standardized odds ratio: 1.54 (1.07–2.22); P = 0.02].Conclusion:
Baseline GGT and FLI, as well as an increase in GGT over time, were associated with the risk of incident hypertension. Enhanced hepatic insulin resistance predicted the onset of hypertension and may be a link between liver markers and hypertension.