Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic liver disease (ALD) are among the most common causes of chronic liver diseases in the westernized world. NAFLD and ALD are frequently accompanied by extrahepatic complications, including hepatocellular carcinoma and cardiovascular diseases, which have a negative impact on patient survival. The chronic ingestion of an excessive daily diet containing sugar/high-fructose corn syrup increases the level of the fructose/glucose metabolite, glyceraldehyde (GA), while the chronic consumption of an excessive number of alcoholic beverages increases the level of the alcohol metabolite, acetaldehyde (AA) in the liver. GA and AA are known to react non-enzymatically with the ε- or α-amino groups of proteins, thereby generating advanced glycation end-products (AGEs, GA-AGEs, and AA-AGEs, respectively) in vivo. The interaction between GA-AGEs and the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) alters intracellular signaling, gene expression, and the release of pro-inflammatory molecules and also elicits the production of reactive oxygen species by human hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells, all of which may contribute to the pathological changes associated with chronic liver diseases. We herein discuss the pathophysiological roles of GA-AGEs and AA-AGEs (toxic AGEs, TAGE) and a related novel theory for preventing the onset/progression of NAFLD and ALD.
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