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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2016, Article ID 7653689, 6 pages
Research Article

Associations between White Blood Cell Count and the Development of Incidental Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

1Department of Internal Medicine, Healthcare Research Institute, Gangnam Healthcare Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA
3Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Received 21 September 2016; Revised 10 November 2016; Accepted 17 November 2016

Academic Editor: Paul Enck

Copyright © 2016 Goh Eun Chung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims. Chronic low-grade inflammation is thought to be associated with the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This study aimed to determine the association between serum white blood cell (WBC) counts and the development of incidental NAFLD. Methods. In this retrospective longitudinal cohort study, we recruited participants who underwent abdominal ultrasonography and blood samplings during medical checkups in both 2005 and 2010. A total of 2,216 subjects were included in our analyses. Results. The prevalence of NAFLD in 2010 increased steadily in conjunction with increasing WBC counts in 2005 after adjustment for body mass index (BMI) [odds ratio (OR) 2.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.49–4.00 for women and OR 2.42, 95% CI = 1.61–3.63 for men, lowest quartile versus highest quartile]. Multivariate regression analysis after adjusting for age, BMI, hypertension, smoking, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and glucose levels revealed that NAFLD was significantly associated with the highest WBC quartile compared to the lowest quartile [OR 1.85, 95% CI, 1.10−3.10 for women and OR 1.68, 95% CI, 1.08−2.61 for men]. Conclusions. We demonstrated that the risk of developing NAFLD was significantly associated with WBC counts independently of metabolic factors. This finding provides novel evidence indicating that serum WBC counts may be potential surrogate markers of NAFLD.