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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 …
Funding: This work is part of the Community Medicine Research (CMR) net of the University of Greifswald, Germany, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant no. ZZ9603), the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Social Ministry of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The CMR encompasses several research projects, which are sharing data of the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (http://www.community-medicine.de).
Competing interests: None.
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