Washington, April 2 : Researchers from the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) have found that a history of early-onset paternal obesity increases the likelihood of elevated liver enzyme levels in offspring.
In the study, the researchers found that participants with paternal early-onset obesity had higher serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels than those without paternal obesity.
The findings showed that kids with fathers who were defined as clinically obese at an early age were more likely to have increased liver enzyme levels, an indicator of liver disease.
A secondary analysis, excluding obese offspring, produced a strengthened relationship between paternal early-onset obesity and elevated serum ALT levels,
It showed that the link between obesity in the father and elevated serum ALT levels in the offspring is independent of the child's body mass index (BMI) and persists among non-obese children.
Researchers could not find any relationship between maternal early-onset obesity and ALT levels.
"Our results point to a genetic connection between early-onset paternal obesity and increased ALT levels," said Caroline S. Fox, MD, MPH, the senior author of the study and medical officer with the Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA.
"These findings show that familial factors may play a role in elevated serum ALT levels in the general population," she added.
The Framingham Heart Study is a prospective, community-based, family study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study is published in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.