The FNDC5 gene encodes the fibronectin type III domain-containing protein 5 that is a membrane protein mainly expressed in skeletal muscle, and the FNDC5 rs3480 polymorphism may be associated with liver disease severity in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We investigated the influence of the FNDC5 rs3480 polymorphism on the relationship between sarcopenia and the histological severity of NAFLD. A total of 370 adult individuals with biopsy-proven NAFLD were studied. The association between the key exposure sarcopenia and the outcome liver histological severity was investigated by binary logistic regression. Stratified analyses were undertaken to examine the impact of FNDC5 rs3480 polymorphism on the association between sarcopenia and the severity of NAFLD histology. Patients with sarcopenia had more severe histological grades of steatosis and a higher prevalence of significant fibrosis and definite non-alcoholic steatohepatitis than those without sarcopenia. There was a significant association between sarcopenia and significant fibrosis (adjusted OR 2·79, 95 % CI 1·31, 5·95, P = 0·008), independent of established risk factors and potential confounders. Among patients with sarcopenia, significant fibrosis occurred more frequently in the rs3480 AA genotype carriers than in those carrying the FNDC5 rs3480 G genotype (43·8 v. 17·2 %, P = 0·031). In the association between sarcopenia and liver fibrosis, there was a significant interaction between the FNDC5 genotype and sarcopenia status (P value for interaction = 0·006). Sarcopenia is independently associated with significant liver fibrosis, and the FNDC5 rs3480 G variant influences the association between sarcopenia and liver fibrosis in patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD.