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Menopausal status and hepatic steatosis in a general female population
  1. Henry Völzke1,
  2. Sabine Schwarz2,
  3. Sebastian E Baumeister3,
  4. Henri Wallaschofski4,
  5. Christian Schwahn5,
  6. Hans Jörgen Grabe6,
  7. Thomas Kohlmann7,
  8. Ulrich John8,
  9. Martina Dören9
  1. 1Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  2. 2Clinical Research Center of Women’s Health, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany
  3. 3Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  4. 4Department of Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Nutrition, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  5. 5Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  6. 6Clinic of Psychiatry, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  7. 7Institute for Community Medicine, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  8. 8Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  9. 9Clinical Research Center of Women’s Health, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Henry Völzke
    Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Walther Rathenau Street 48, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany; voelzke{at}uni-greifswald.de

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Population-based studies showed that non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis is less common in women than in men. Anti-oestrogens double the risk of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis,1 which may be interpreted as indirect evidence for a protective role of endogenous oestrogens against steatohepatitis. Experimental evidence further suggests that oestradiol causes a reduction of hepatic steatosis in mice unable to produce oestrogens.2 We thus hypothesised that the menopause as a natural state of oestrogen deficiency might increase the risk of hepatic steatosis.

The Study of Health in Pomerania is a cross-sectional population-based survey in northeast Germany.3 We restricted our analyses to 808 women aged 40–59 years without seropositivity to hepatitis B antigen and anti-hepatitis C virus. The study was approved by the ethics committee of the University of Greifswald. All participants gave written informed consent.

Menopause was defined as 12 consecutive months of amenorrhoea or cessation of menstruation after iatrogenic intervention. Serum glutamate oxaloacetate …

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