Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology
Liver - Original Article

Association Between Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio with Inflammatory Activity and Fibrosis in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease


Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China


Department of Respiratory Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China

Turk J Gastroenterol 2022; 33: 53-61
DOI: 10.5152/tjg.2022.20715
Read: 492 Downloads: 161 Published: 01 January 2022

Background: Inflammation plays an important role in the development and progression of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and NASH is a powerful driving force for the progression of fibrosis. The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a simple emerging indicator of inflammation. We aimed to assess the potential association between NLR and histological severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Methods: This retrospective study consisted of 231 patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD in China from August 2017 to September 2019. The steatosis, activity, and fibrosis scoring system were used to evaluate liver biopsy tissue.

Results: Of the 231 patients with NAFLD, advanced inflammatory activity was present in 43.3% and significant fibrosis in 25.5% of patients. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed NLR to be correlated with advanced inflammatory activity (Odds ratio (OR): 0.62, 95% CI: 0.42-0.94, P = .025) and significant fibrosis (OR: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.35-0.94, P = .028). The NLR was inversely associated with the degree of steatosis, lobular inflammation and fibrosis (r = −0.16, P = .014; r = −0.15, P = .019; r = −0.13, P = .046, respectively), but had no association with the severity of ballooning. The multivariate-adjusted models had good predictability for advanced inflammatory activity (area under curves (AUC) 0.790, 95% CI: 0.730-0.850) and for significant fibrosis (AUC 0.798, 95% CI: 0.728-0.868).

Conclusion: This study showed negative correlations between elevated NLR levels with advanced inflammatory activity and significant fibrosis in patients with NAFLD. Our results also suggested that NLR could be considered as a simple and noninvasive mark to identify high-risk populations in NAFLD.

Cite this article as: WenYi J, Ting Q, PiaoPiao Y, JinMing W. Association between neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio with inflammatory activity and fibrosis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Turk J Gastroenterol. 2022; 33(1): 53-61.

EISSN 2148-5607