PloS one 2017 12 0812(12) e0185902 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0185902
BACKGROUND AND AIMS
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has a bidirectional association with metabolic syndrome. It affects up to 30% of the general population, 70% of individuals with diabetes and 90% with obesity. The main histological hallmark of progressive NAFLD is fibrosis. There is a bidirectional epidemiological link between periodontitis and metabolic syndrome. NAFLD, periodontitis and diabetes share common risk factors, are characterised by inflammation and associated with changes in commensal bacteria. Therefore we tested the hypothesis that periodontitis is associated with NAFLD and with significant fibrosis in two study groups.
We analyzed data from a population-based survey and a patient-based study. NHANES III participants with abdominal ultrasound and sociodemographic, clinical, and oral examination data were extracted and appropriate weighting applied. In a separate patient-based study, consenting patients with biopsy-proved NAFLD (or with liver indices too mild to justify biopsy) underwent dental examination. Basic Periodontal Examination score was recorded.
In NHANES, periodontitis was significantly associated with steatosis in 8172 adults even after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. However, associations were fully explained after accounting for features of metabolic syndrome. In the patient-based study, periodontitis was significantly more common in patients with biopsy-proven NASH and any fibrosis (F0-F4) than without NASH (p = 0.009). Periodontitis was more common in patients with NASH and significant fibrosis (F2-4) than mild or no fibrosis (F0-1, p = 0.04).
Complementary evidence from an epidemiological survey and a clinical study show that NAFLD is associated with periodontitis and that the association is stronger with significant liver fibrosis.