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This article is the author’s final published version in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Volume 24, Issue 5, September 2021, Pages 455-469.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2021 The Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. All Rights Reserved.


Purpose: The rs641738 C>T in membrane-bound O-acyltransferase domain-containing protein 7 (MBOAT7) is implicated, along with the rs738409 C>G polymorphism in patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3), in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The association of these polymorphisms and NAFLD are investigated in Hispanic children with obesity.

Methods: Obese children with and without NAFLD were enrolled at a pediatric tertiary care health system and genotyped for MBOAT7 rs641738 C>T and PNPLA3 rs738409 C>G. NAFLD was characterized by the ultrasonographic presence of hepatic steatosis along with persistently elevated liver enzymes. Genetic variants and demographic and biochemical data were analyzed for the effects on NAFLD.

Results: Among 126 enrolled subjects, 84 in the case group had NAFLD and 42 in the control group did not. The two groups had similar demographic distribution. NAFLD was associated with abnormal liver enzymes and elevated triglycerides and cholesterol (p<0.05). Children with NAFLD had higher percentage of PNPLA3 GG genotype at 70.2% versus 31.0% in non-NAFLD, and lower MBOAT7 TT genotype at 4.8% versus 16.7% in non-NAFLD (p<0.05). PNPLA3 rs738409 C>G had an additive effect in NAFLD; however, MBOAT7 rs641738 C>T had no effects alone or synergistically with PNPLA3 polymorphism. NAFLD risk increased 3.7-fold in subjects carrying PNPLA3 GG genotype and decreased in MBOAT7 TT genotype.

Conclusion: In Hispanic children with obesity, PNPLA3 rs738409 C>G polymorphism increased the risk for NAFLD. The role of MBOAT7 rs641738 variant in NAFLD is less evident.

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