1. Percutaneous needle biopsy specimens of liver were obtained from alcoholic, diabetic and control patients. Micro-methods of lipid separation and quantification were employed to determine the detailed nature of hepatic lipid.
2. Triglyceride is the major accumulating liver lipid in both alcoholic and diabetic patients. Cholesteryl ester levels were raised in both alcoholic and diabetic patients but only diabetic patients had significantly increased free cholesterol and phospholipid levels. Determination of phospholipid/free cholesterol ratios revealed a significant decrease in alcoholic cirrhosis compared with controls.
3. Fatty acid ester analysis of hepatic phospholipid and triglyceride revealed significant differences between alcoholic patients and controls but not between diabetic patients and controls. An increased ratio of non-essential/essential fatty acids was found in the patients with alcoholic liver disease whereas those of diabetic patients were similar to the controls.