Obesity, Hormonal Imbalance Effects on Liver Disease in Adolescent Girls

Obesity, Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in Adolescent Girls

Protocol Description

This pilot study evaluates how excessive weight and abnormal pubertal hormones affect the accumulation of fat in the livers of adolescent girls. As teenagers go through puberty, hormonal changes regulate the process of maturing from child to adult. Sometimes girls with excess weight also have a hormonal condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), resulting in irregular menstrual periods, excess facial or body hair, and acne. Girls, as well as boys, who are overweight may be at risk of accumulating fat in the liver, a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Through this study, researchers will compare the amount of liver fat in girls with PCOS to girls without PCOS and to boys of similar age and maturation. Participants will be checked for overweight/obesity-associated conditions, such as pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol/lipids, and liver abnormalities and will be informed of results. Abnormal findings will lead to referrals for appropriate counseling or management.

Eligibility Criteria

Subject to certain exclusion criteria, this study is enrolling participants ages 10 through 18, of both genders – girls who are obese with or without PCOS, and boys who are obese and otherwise healthy.
Boys and Girls: Ages 10 through 18


Following an initial screening visit, participants will return for a research visit that will be scheduled in the morning as it requires fasting the evening before. The research visit will last 4 to  6 hours and will include blood testing and an ultrasound and MRI of the liver.
Visits: 2
Duration: Not applicable

Status: Open to Enrollment

Source(s) of Support

National Institutes of Health
The Pittsburgh Foundation

Primary Investigator

Nabiha Shahid, MD
Silva Arslanian, MD

Contact Information

For more information about the study or enrollment, please contact:
Samantha Cochenuor, Study Coordinator