Background & Aims Liver fibrosis is a multifactorial disease that can affect the development of cerebral small vessel diseases (SVDs) including cerebral microbleeds (CMBs), leukoaraiosis, and silent infarctions. Transient elastography can accurately assess the degree of liver fibrosis by measuring liver stiffness (LS). In the present study, we investigated the association between SVDs and LS values. Methods We recruited 300 participants (mean age 56 years, 170 men) who underwent a comprehensive medical health check-up between January 2011 and December 2012. Transient elasto-graphy was taken on the right lobe of the liver through intercostal space with patients lying in the dorsal decubitus position with the right arm in maximal abduction. Mild and significant fibrosis were defined as LS values >5.6 and >8.0 kPa, respectively. The presence of each SVD was determined using the FLAIR, GRE MR imaging as well as T1-, T2-weighted MR images. We tested whether the presence and burden of each type of SVD were different by LS values. Results Of the different types of SVDs, only the presence (p = 0.001) and number of CMBs (p<0.001) were positively associated with LS values. Multivariate analysis revealed that significant fibrosis (>8.0 kPa) was an independent predictor of CMBs (odds ratio 6.079, 95% confidence interval 1.489-24.819, p = 0.012). However, leukoaraiosis and silent infarctions were not associated with LS values (all p>0.05). Conclusions The degree of liver fibrosis, as assessed using transient elastography, was independently associated with the presence and burden of CMBs in healthy, asymptomatic participants. Understanding the link between the brain and liver may advance future research on the pathomechanisms of CMBs.
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© 2015 Kim et al.
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