Association between MRI-derived hepatic fat fraction and blood pressure in participants without history of cardiovascular disease

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We assessed whether liver fat content, as determined by MRI, correlates with blood pressure (BP), a major vascular risk factor, in individuals from the general population without history of stroke and coronary or peripheral artery disease.


Cross-sectional data from 384 participants (161 women; aged 39–73 years) of a MRI substudy of the KORA FF4 survey were used. Hepatic fat fraction (HFF) was measured in the left and right lobe of the liver using single voxel multiecho 1H-spectroscopy and at the level of the portal vein using a multiecho Dixon-sequence. Associations of HFF with SBP and DBP as well as hypertension were assessed by right censored normal regression (accounting for antihypertensive treatment) and by logistic regression, respectively.


High levels of HFF measured on the level of the portal vein (90th percentile, 21.8%), compared with low HFF levels (10th percentile, 1.7%), were associated with higher SBP (131 vs. 122 mmHg; overall P = 0.001), higher DBP (82 vs. 76 mmHg, P < 0.001) and with higher odds of hypertension [odds ratio (OR) = 2.16, P = 0.025]. A level of 5.13% (54th percentile) was identified as optimal HFF cut-off for the prediction of hypertension (OR = 2.00, P = 0.015). Alcohol consumption emerged as an effect modifier for the association between HFF and hypertension (nonalcohol drinker: OR = 3.76, P = 0.025; alcohol drinker: OR = 1.59, P = 0.165).


MRI-derived subclinical HFF is associated with SBP and DBP as well as with hypertension in participants from the general population without history of cardiovascular disease.

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