Long-term air pollutant exposure, especially with unhealthy habits, increase MAFLD risk
Long-term exposure to ambient air pollutants may increase the risk of metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease, according to a study published in Journal of Hepatology.
“Our findings add to the growing evidence of ambient pollution’s damaging effects on metabolic function and related organs,” Bing Guo, MD, of West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University, and colleagues wrote. “We also found that unhealthy lifestyles and the presence of central obesity may exacerbate these harmful effects. Therefore, multifaceted efforts to control [air pollution] and promote healthy lifestyles should be prioritized accordingly in public health initiatives and legislative measures.”
Guo and colleagues performed a cross-sectional study of 90,086 patients (mean age at baseline, 51.66 years; 60.3% women) from 2018 to 2019. Patients were evaluated for MAFLD based on hepatic steatosis diagnosed radiographically and the presence of overweight/obese status, diabetes or metabolic dysregulation. Validated spatiotemporal models were used to estimate residence-specific levels of air pollutants, including particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters equal to or less than 1 µm (PM 1), equal to or less than 2.5 µm (PM 2.5) and equal to or less than 10 µm (PM 10), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Air pollutants and MAFLD correlations were assessed with logistic regression models. Then, investigators further assessed the potential effect modifications of demographics, lifestyle, central obesity and diabetes status.
Results showed increased exposure levels in the four air pollutants were significantly correlated with an increased risk for MALFD. Investigators noted that, for each 10 µg/m3 increase in PM 1, PM 2.5, PM 10 and NO 2, the respective ORs were 1.13 (95% CI, 1.1-1.17), 1.29 (95% CI, 1.25-13.4), 1.11 (95% CI, 1.09-1.14) and 1.15 (95% CI, 1.12-1.17).
According to results from stratified analyses, the risk for MALFD from air pollutant exposure was greater in individuals who were men, alcohol drinkers and current and previous smokers, as well as those who consume a high fat diet and those with central obesity.