Data normality was analyzed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Continuous, normally distributed variables are described as the mean ± standard deviation. Non-normally distributed variables are described as the median (interquartile range). Statistical differences between normally distributed variables were compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by Tukey pairwise comparison. Categorical variables are presented as frequencies and percentages, and inter-group comparisons were tested using the chi-square test. Logarithmically transformed values of plasma hepassocin, hs-CRP, blood urine nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and triglyceride were used in the statistical analyses since their distributions were skewed. Associations between hepassocin and other parameters were assessed using simple and multiple linear stepwise regression analyses. Results were considered statistically significant if their p value was <0.05. All analyses were performed using SAS statistical software, version 8.2 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA).

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