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.Methods:
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.Results:
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).Conclusion:
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.