Recent data suggest that the renin-angiotensin-aldosteron system (RAAS) may be of importance in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We were interested to investigate whether the therapy with RAAS blockers in patients with different stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has any effect on steatosis and fibrosis grade; NAFLD documented by transient elastography (TE) (Fibroscan®-CAP).
Of 191 patients with various stages of CKD there were 61 patients with CKD grade III and IV, 62 patients with end-stage renal disease treated with chronic hemodialysis and 68 renal transplant recipients. Liver stiffness was selected as the parameter to quantify liver fibrosis. Furthermore, the Controlled Attenuation Parameter (CAP) was used to detect and quantify liver steatosis with the help of TE.
CKD patients (p = 0.005) and CKD-NAFLD patients (p = 0.0005) with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) had statistically significant lower degree of liver stiffness in comparison to those without these medications (p = 0.005). Also, we were interested to explore is there any difference in fibrosis and steatosis grade due to use of ACE-I or ARBs. We did not find statistically significant differences between those two subgroups of patients with respect to liver steatosis/fibrosis.
Based on our results, RAAS blockers could be an attractive option for the management of NAFLD. We believe that TE provides the opportunity of noninvasive screening of NAFLD in CKD patients. In further prospective analysis, we believe that by using TE as noninvasive method we could investigate are ACE-I/ARBs really effective medications for the treatment of NAFLD in CKD patients.