Pathophysiology and mechanisms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Palo alto :Annual reviews
Annual review of physiology. - Palo Alto, Calif., 1939, currens
, p. 181-205
University of Antwerp
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a spectrum of liver disorders characterized by abnormal hepatic fat accumulation, inflammation, and hepatocyte dysfunction. Importantly, it is also closely linked to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. NAFLD predisposes susceptible individuals to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and cardiovascular disease. Although the precise signals remain poorly understood, NAFLD pathogenesis likely involves actions of the different hepatic cell types and multiple extrahepatic signals. The complexity of this disease has been a major impediment to the development of appropriate metrics of its progression and effective therapies. Recent clinical data place increasing importance on identifying fibrosis, as it is a strong indicator of hepatic disease-related mortality. Preclinical modeling of the fibrotic process remains challenging, particularly in the contexts of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Future studies are needed to define the molecular pathways determining the natural progression of NAFLD, including key determinants of fibrosis and disease-related outcomes. This review covers the evolving concepts of NAFLD from both human and animal studies. We discuss recent clinical and diagnostic methods assessing NAFLD diagnosis, progression, and outcomes; compare the features of genetic and dietary animal models of NAFLD; and highlight pharmacological approaches for disease treatment.