The liver constantly adapts to meet energy requirements of the whole body. Despite its remarkable adaptative capacity, prolonged exposure of liver cells to harmful environmental cues (such as diets rich in fat, sugar, and cholesterol) results in the development of chronic liver diseases (including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)) that can progress to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The pathogenesis of these diseases is extremely complex, multifactorial, and poorly understood. Emerging evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction or maladaptation contributes to detrimental effects on hepatocyte bioenergetics, reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, inflammation, and cell death leading to NASH and HCC. The present review highlights the potential contribution of altered mitochondria function to NASH-related HCC and discusses how agents targeting this organelle could provide interesting treatment strategies for these diseases.
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