The discovery of metabolite-phenotype associations may highlight candidate biomarkers and metabolic pathways altered in disease states. We sought to identify novel metabolites associated with obesity and one of its major complications, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), using a liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method. In 997 individuals in Framingham Heart Study Generation 3 (FHS Gen 3), we identified an association between anandamide (AEA) and BMI. Further examination revealed that AEA was associated with radiographic hepatic steatosis. In a histologically defined NAFLD cohort, AEA was associated with NAFLD severity, the presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and fibrosis. These data highlight AEA as a marker linking cardiometabolic disease and NAFLD severity.
W. Taylor Kimberly, John F. O’Sullivan, Anjali K. Nath, Michelle Keyes, Xu Shi, Martin G. Larson, Qiong Yang, Michelle T. Long, Ramachandran Vasan, Randall T. Peterson, Thomas J. Wang, Kathleen E. Corey, Robert E. Gerszten