A case report (T Malikowski et al. Gastroenterol 2017; 152: 947-49) provides some insight into a fairly common problem –elevated liver tests in the setting of poorly controlled type 1 diabetes mellitus. This 18-year-old had presented with a glucose of 497 mg/dL, elevated lactate, aspartate aminotransferase 257 U/L, and alanine aminotransferase 178 U/L.
The authors note that Mauriac syndrome “occurs in young patients as a result of poorly controlled type 1 diabetes mellitus.” It may result in growth retardation, pubertal delay, and cushingoid features.
“Glycogenic hepatopathy is a underrecognized complication of Mauriac syndrome that presents with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, elevated serum transaminases, elevated plasma lactate levels, and hepatomegaly The pathogenesis stems from an accumulation of glycogen in the liver…The diagnosis…is made …when all other causes of liver disease have been excluded…When glucose control is achieved, prognosis is excellent.”
My take: There are many potential reasons for elevated liver enzymes associated with type 1 diabetes mellitus, including celiac disease, and autoimmune hepatitis. However, familiarity with glycogenic hepatopathy helps with pattern recognition and helps explain the frequent concurrence of liver disease with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes mellitus.