Background & Aims: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in non-pregnant adults. Although the biological mechanisms underlying this association are not completely understood, metabolic factors, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction are likely all involved. The association between NAFLD and pregnancy-associated hypertension (HTN) has not been systematically examined. The aim of this study is to assess the risk of pregnancy-associated HTN in pregnant women with NAFLD. Methods: This is secondary analysis of a prospective study of healthy pregnant women. Liver ultrasonography was performed at 10-14 weeks of gestation and maternal blood was taken for the measurement of selenoprotein P (SeP), a hepatokine independently associated with both NAFLD and CVD. Pregnancy-associated HTN was defined as the development of gestational HTN, preeclampsia, or eclampsia. Results: Among 877 pregnant women, the risk of developing pregnancy-associated HTN was significantly increased in women with NAFLD compared to those without NAFLD. Grade 2-3 steatosis was a significant predictor of pregnancy-associated HTN, even after adjustment for metabolic risk factors. Circulating levels of SeP were significantly higher in women with versus those without NAFLD (P =.001) and was significantly higher also in women who subsequently developed pregnancy-associated HTN compared with those who did not (P '.005). Conclusions: Sonographic evidence of NAFLD at 10-14 weeks is an independent predictor of pregnancy-associated HTN. Circulating levels of SeP at that same gestational age are significantly increased in pregnant women with NAFLD who subsequently develop pregnancy-associated HTN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2417-2426
Number of pages10
JournalLiver International
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • pregnancy-associated hypertension
  • selenoprotein P


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