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Special Issue "Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2016).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Amedeo Lonardo
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Section Editor
Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Modena, Modena, Italy
Interests: NAFLD-MAFLD; cirrhosis; hepatocellular carcinoma; metabolic syndrome; insulin resistance; sex differences
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Giovanni Targher
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
Interests: NAFLD/NASH; cardiovascular disease; metabolic syndrome; type 2 diabetes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of IJMS, entitled “Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2015" will cover a selection of recent research topics and current review articles in the field of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in Western countries and is predicted to be the most common cause of liver transplantation by 2030.

NAFLD has a bidirectional and inextricable association with metabolic disorders of which it is both the cause and the effect. On these grounds, it comes as no surprise that the clinical and social burden of NAFLD is not only confined to liver-related morbidity and mortality (e.g., cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma), and that NAFLD is a truly a multisystem disease, affecting multiple regulatory pathways and pathophysiologically linked with several extra-hepatic diseases. For example, NAFLD increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular and cardiac diseases. Moreover, NAFLD is also linked to other invalidating chronic conditions, such as hepatitis C virus (HCV), HIV infections, chronic kidney disease, extra-hepatic cancers, and chronic plaque psoriasis.

Against this background, further research is needed to understand genetic modifiers, natural history, and the molecular pathogenesis of NAFLD, as well as the biological mechanisms by which NAFLD influences the risk of hepatocarcinoma and extra-hepatic diseases. It is also important to establish whether there are key ‘common threads’ that link NAFLD to the development of extra-hepatic diseases.

Some of the leading researchers in this area have accepted to contribute to this Special Issue of IJMS in order to provide an updated, state-of-the-art view on these topics, as well as to indicate novel research avenues.

 

Dr. Amedeo Lonardo
Dr. Giovanni Targher
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • anticoagulation therapy
  • arterial hypertension
  • cancer
  • cardiovascular disease and risk
  • children
  • clinical trials
  • cytokines
  • diagnosis
  • genetics
  • epidemiology
  • ferritin
  • gut microbiota
  • HCC
  • HCV
  • HIV
  • insulin resistance
  • metabolic syndrome
  • molecular biology
  • natural history
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • obesity
  • pathogenesis
  • statins
  • system biology
  • telomeres
  • type 2 diabetes
  • thyroid disease
  • uric acid

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Published Papers (36 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
NAFLD: Is There Anything New under the Sun?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(9), 1955; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091955 - 12 Sep 2017
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4066
Abstract
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an “umbrella” definition that encompasses a spectrum of histological liver changes ranging from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with/without fibrosis, “cryptogenic” cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), occurring in a dysmetabolic milieu, though in the absence of [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an “umbrella” definition that encompasses a spectrum of histological liver changes ranging from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with/without fibrosis, “cryptogenic” cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), occurring in a dysmetabolic milieu, though in the absence of excessive alcohol consumption and other competing etiologies of chronic liver disease [1].[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Correlations of Hepatic Hemodynamics, Liver Function, and Fibrosis Markers in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Comparison with Chronic Hepatitis Related to Hepatitis C Virus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1545; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091545 - 14 Sep 2016
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3055
Abstract
The progression of chronic liver disease differs by etiology. The aim of this study was to elucidate the difference in disease progression between chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by means of fibrosis markers, liver function, and hepatic tissue [...] Read more.
The progression of chronic liver disease differs by etiology. The aim of this study was to elucidate the difference in disease progression between chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by means of fibrosis markers, liver function, and hepatic tissue blood flow (TBF). Xenon computed tomography (Xe-CT) was performed in 139 patients with NAFLD and 152 patients with CHC (including liver cirrhosis (LC)). The cutoff values for fibrosis markers were compared between NAFLD and CHC, and correlations between hepatic TBF and liver function tests were examined at each fibrosis stage. The cutoff values for detection of the advanced fibrosis stage were lower in NAFLD than in CHC. Although portal venous TBF (PVTBF) correlated with liver function tests, PVTBF in initial LC caused by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH-LC) was significantly lower than that in hepatitis C virus (C-LC) (p = 0.014). Conversely, the liver function tests in NASH-LC were higher than those in C-LC (p < 0.05). It is important to recognize the difference between NAFLD and CHC. We concluded that changes in hepatic blood flow occurred during the earliest stage of hepatic fibrosis in patients with NAFLD; therefore, patients with NAFLD need to be followed carefully. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease on Renal Function in Children with Overweight/Obesity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17081218 - 27 Jul 2016
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2829
Abstract
The association between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and chronic kidney disease has attracted interest and attention over recent years. However, no data are available in children. We determined whether children with NAFLD show signs of renal functional alterations, as determined by estimated [...] Read more.
The association between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and chronic kidney disease has attracted interest and attention over recent years. However, no data are available in children. We determined whether children with NAFLD show signs of renal functional alterations, as determined by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urinary albumin excretion. We studied 596 children with overweight/obesity, 268 with NAFLD (hepatic fat fraction ≥5% on magnetic resonance imaging) and 328 without NAFLD, and 130 healthy normal-weight controls. Decreased GFR was defined as eGFR < 90 mL/min/1.73 m2. Abnormal albuminuria was defined as urinary excretion of ≥30 mg/24 h of albumin. A greater prevalence of eGFR < 90 mL/min/1.73 m2 was observed in patients with NAFLD compared to those without liver involvement and healthy subjects (17.5% vs. 6.7% vs. 0.77%; p < 0.0001). The proportion of children with abnormal albuminuria was also higher in the NAFLD group compared to those without NAFLD, and controls (9.3% vs. 4.0% vs. 0; p < 0.0001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that NAFLD was associated with decreased eGFR and/or microalbuminuria (odds ratio, 2.54 (confidence interval, 1.16–5.57); p < 0.05) independently of anthropometric and clinical variables. Children with NAFLD are at risk for early renal dysfunction. Recognition of this abnormality in the young may help to prevent the ongoing development of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Nutritional Strategies for the Individualized Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Based on the Nutrient-Induced Insulin Output Ratio (NIOR)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071192 - 22 Jul 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2909
Abstract
Nutrients play a fundamental role as regulators of the activity of enzymes involved in liver metabolism. In the general population, the action of nutrients may be affected by gene polymorphisms. Therefore, individualization of a diet for individuals with fatty liver seems to be [...] Read more.
Nutrients play a fundamental role as regulators of the activity of enzymes involved in liver metabolism. In the general population, the action of nutrients may be affected by gene polymorphisms. Therefore, individualization of a diet for individuals with fatty liver seems to be a fundamental step in nutritional strategies. In this study, we tested the nutrient-induced insulin output ratio (NIOR), which is used to identify the correlation between the variants of genes and insulin resistance. We enrolled 171 patients, Caucasian men (n = 104) and women (n = 67), diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). From the pool of genes sensitive to nutrient content, we selected genes characterized by a strong response to the NIOR. The polymorphisms included Adrenergic receptor (b3AR), Tumor necrosis factor (TNFα), Apolipoprotein C (Apo C III). Uncoupling Protein type I (UCP-1), Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ2 (PPAR-2) and Apolipoprotein E (APOEs). We performed three dietary interventions: a diet consistent with the results of genotyping (NIOR (+)); typical dietary recommendations for NAFLD (Cust (+)), and a diet opposite to the genotyping results (NIOR (−) and Cust (−)). We administered the diet for six months. The most beneficial changes were observed among fat-sensitive patients who were treated with the NIOR (+) diet. These changes included improvements in body mass and insulin sensitivity and normalization of blood lipids. In people sensitive to fat, the NIOR seems to be a useful tool for determining specific strategies for the treatment of NAFLD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Liver Fat Measured by MR Spectroscopy: Estimate of Imprecision and Relationship with Serum Glycerol, Caeruloplasmin and Non-Esterified Fatty Acids
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071089 - 08 Jul 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2394
Abstract
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a non-invasive method for quantitative estimation of liver fat. Knowledge of its imprecision, which comprises biological variability and measurement error, is required to design therapeutic trials with measurement of change. The role of adipocyte lipolysis in ectopic fat [...] Read more.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a non-invasive method for quantitative estimation of liver fat. Knowledge of its imprecision, which comprises biological variability and measurement error, is required to design therapeutic trials with measurement of change. The role of adipocyte lipolysis in ectopic fat accumulation remains unclear. We examined the relationship between liver fat content and indices of lipolysis, and determine whether lipolysis reflects insulin resistance or metabolic liver disease. Imprecision of measurement of liver fat was estimated from duplicate measurements by MRS at one month intervals. Patients provided fasting blood samples and we examined the correlation of liver fat with indices of insulin resistance, lipolysis and metabolic liver disease using Kendall Tau statistics. The coefficient of variation of liver fat content was 14.8%. Liver fat was positively related to serum insulin (T = 0.48, p = 0.042), homeostasis model assessment (HOMA)-B% (T = −0.48, p = 0.042), and body mass index (BMI) (T = 0.59, p = 0.012); and inversely related to HOMA-S% (T = −0.48, p = 0.042), serum glycerol (T = −0.59, p = 0.014), and serum caeruloplasmin (T = 0.055, p = 0.047). Our estimate of total variability in liver fat content (14.8%) is nearly twice that of the reported procedural variability (8.5%). We found that liver fat content was significantly inversely related to serum glycerol but not to non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), suggesting progressive suppression of lipolysis. Reduction of caeruloplasmin with increasing liver fat may be a consequence or a cause of hepatic steatosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
PNPLA3 Expression Is Related to Liver Steatosis in Morbidly Obese Women with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050630 - 27 Apr 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3004
Abstract
Recent reports suggest a role for the Patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3) in the pathology of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Lipid deposition in the liver seems to be a critical process in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. The aim of the present [...] Read more.
Recent reports suggest a role for the Patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3) in the pathology of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Lipid deposition in the liver seems to be a critical process in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the association between the liver PNPLA3 expression, key genes of lipid metabolism, and the presence of NAFLD in morbidly obese women. We used real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis to analyze the hepatic expression of PNPLA3 and lipid metabolism-related genes in 55 morbidly obese subjects with normal liver histology (NL, n = 18), simple steatosis (SS, n = 20), and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, n = 17). Liver biopsies were collected during bariatric surgery. We observed that liver PNPLA3 expression was increased in NAFLD than in NL. It was also upregulated in SS than in NL. Interestingly, we found that the expression of PNPLA3 was significantly higher in severe than mild SS group. In addition, the expression of the transcription factors LXRα, PPARα, and SREBP2 was positively correlated with PNPLA3 liver expression. Regarding rs738409 polymorphism, GG genotype was positive correlated with the presence of NASH. In conclusion, our results show that PNPLA3 could be related to lipid accumulation in liver, mainly in the development and progression of simple steatosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Serum Free Fatty Acid Profiles in NAFLD Subjects and Healthy Controls after Oral Fat Load
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040479 - 31 Mar 2016
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 3601
Abstract
Background: Free fatty acid (FFA) metabolism can impact on metabolic conditions, such as obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This work studied the increase in total FFA shown in NAFLD subjects to possibly characterize which fatty acids significantly accounted for the whole [...] Read more.
Background: Free fatty acid (FFA) metabolism can impact on metabolic conditions, such as obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This work studied the increase in total FFA shown in NAFLD subjects to possibly characterize which fatty acids significantly accounted for the whole increase. Methods: 21 patients with NAFLD were selected according to specified criteria. The control group consisted of nine healthy subjects. All subjects underwent an oral standard fat load. Triglycerides; cholesterol; FFA; glucose and insulin were measured every 2 h with the determination of fatty acid composition of FFA. Results: higher serum FFA levels in NAFLD subjects are mainly due to levels of oleic, palmitic and linoleic acids at different times. Significant increases were shown for docosahexaenoic acid, linolenic acid, eicosatrienoic acid, and arachidonic acid, although this was just on one occasion. In the postprandial phase, homeostatic model assessment HOMA index positively correlated with the ω3/ω6 ratio in NAFLD patients. Conclusions: the higher serum levels of FFA in NAFLD subjects are mainly due to levels of oleic and palmitic acids which are the most abundant circulating free fatty acids. This is almost exactly corresponded with significant increases in linoleic acid. An imbalance in the n-3/n-6 fatty acids ratio could modulate postprandial responses with more pronounced effects in insulin-resistant subjects, such as NAFLD patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Additive Effect of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease on Metabolic Syndrome-Related Endothelial Dysfunction in Hypertensive Patients
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040456 - 26 Mar 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3026
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MS) is characterized by an increased risk of incident diabetes and cardiovascular (CV) events, identifying insulin resistance (IR) and endothelial dysfunction as key elements. Moreover, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is bidirectionally linked with MS as a consequence of metabolic and [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MS) is characterized by an increased risk of incident diabetes and cardiovascular (CV) events, identifying insulin resistance (IR) and endothelial dysfunction as key elements. Moreover, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is bidirectionally linked with MS as a consequence of metabolic and inflammatory abnormalities. We addressed the question if the evolution in NAFLD might worsen endothelium-dependent vasodilating response in MS hypertensives. We recruited 272 Caucasian newly-diagnosed never-treated hypertensive outpatients divided into three groups according to the presence/absence of MS alone or in combination with NAFLD. MS and NAFLD were defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATPIII) and non-invasive fatty liver index, respectively. We determined IR by using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index. Vascular function, as forearm blood flow (FBF), was determined through strain-gauge plethysmography after intra-arterial infusion of acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside. MS+NAFLD+ group showed worse metabolic, inflammatory and vascular profiles compared with MS−NAFLD− and MS+NAFLD−. HOMA resulted in being the strongest predictor of FBF both in the MS+NAFLD− and in the MS+NAFLD+ groups, accounting for 20.5% and 33.2% of its variation, respectively. In conclusion, we demonstrated that MS+NAFLD+ hypertensives show a worse endothelium-dependent vasodilation compared with MS+NAFLD−, allowing for consideration of NAFLD as an early marker of endothelial dysfunction in hypertensives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Low Serum Lysosomal Acid Lipase Activity Correlates with Advanced Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030312 - 27 Feb 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2646
Abstract
Fatty liver has become the most common liver disorder and is recognized as a major health burden in the Western world. The causes for disease progression are not fully elucidated but lysosomal impairment is suggested. Here we evaluate a possible role for lysosomal [...] Read more.
Fatty liver has become the most common liver disorder and is recognized as a major health burden in the Western world. The causes for disease progression are not fully elucidated but lysosomal impairment is suggested. Here we evaluate a possible role for lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) activity in liver disease. To study LAL levels in patients with microvesicular, idiopathic cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Medical records of patients with microvesicular steatosis, cryptogenic cirrhosis and NAFLD, diagnosed on the basis of liver biopsies, were included in the study. Measured serum LAL activity was correlated to clinical, laboratory, imaging and pathological data. No patient exhibited LAL activity compatible with genetic LAL deficiency. However, serum LAL activity inversely predicted liver disease severity. A LAL level of 0.5 was the most sensitive for detecting both histologic and noninvasive markers for disease severity, including lower white blood cell count and calcium, and elevated γ-glutamyltransferase, creatinine, glucose, glycated hemoglobin, uric acid and coagulation function. Serum LAL activity <0.5 indicates severe liver injury in patients with fatty liver and cirrhosis. Further studies should define the direct role of LAL in liver disease severity and consider the possibility of replacement therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
Open AccessArticle
The Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 Inhibitor Teneligliptin Attenuates Hepatic Lipogenesis via AMPK Activation in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Model Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(12), 29207-29218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161226156 - 08 Dec 2015
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3998
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, is increasingly a major cause of hepatic disorder. Dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-4 inhibitors, anti-diabetic agents, are expected to be effective for the treatment of NAFLD. In the present study, we established a [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, is increasingly a major cause of hepatic disorder. Dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-4 inhibitors, anti-diabetic agents, are expected to be effective for the treatment of NAFLD. In the present study, we established a novel NAFLD model mouse using monosodium glutamate (MSG) and a high-fat diet (HFD) and investigated the effects of a DPP-4 inhibitor, teneligliptin, on the progression of NAFLD. Male MSG/HFD-treated mice were divided into two groups, one of which received teneligliptin in drinking water. Administration of MSG and HFD caused mice to develop severe fatty changes in the liver, but teneligliptin treatment improved hepatic steatosis and inflammation, as evaluated by the NAFLD activity score. Serum alanine aminotransferase and intrahepatic triglyceride levels were significantly decreased in teneligliptin-treated mice (p < 0.05). Hepatic mRNA levels of the genes involved in de novo lipogenesis were significantly downregulated by teneligliptin (p < 0.05). Moreover, teneligliptin increased hepatic expression levels of phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) protein. These findings suggest that teneligliptin attenuates lipogenesis in the liver by activating AMPK and downregulating the expression of genes involved in lipogenesis. DPP-4 inhibitors may be effective for the treatment of NAFLD and may be able to prevent its progression to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH): Risk Factors in Morbidly Obese Patients
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(10), 25552-25559; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161025552 - 23 Oct 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3167
Abstract
The aim was to investigate the prevalence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and risk factors for hepatic fibrosis in morbidly obese patients submitted to bariatric surgery. This retrospective study recruited all patients submitted to bariatric surgery from January 2007 to December 2012 at a [...] Read more.
The aim was to investigate the prevalence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and risk factors for hepatic fibrosis in morbidly obese patients submitted to bariatric surgery. This retrospective study recruited all patients submitted to bariatric surgery from January 2007 to December 2012 at a reference attendance center of Southern Brazil. Clinical and biochemical data were studied as a function of the histological findings of liver biopsies done during the surgery. Steatosis was present in 226 (90.4%) and NASH in 176 (70.4%) cases. The diagnosis of cirrhosis was established in four cases (1.6%) and fibrosis in 108 (43.2%). Risk factors associated with NASH at multivariate analysis were alanine aminotransferase (ALT) >1.5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN); glucose ≥ 126 mg/dL and triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dL. All patients with ALT ≥1.5 times the ULN had NASH. When the presence of fibrosis was analyzed, ALT > 1.5 times the ULN and triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dL were risk factors, furthermore, there was an increase of 1% in the prevalence of fibrosis for each year of age increase. Not only steatosis, but NASH is a frequent finding in MO patients. In the present study, ALT ≥ 1.5 times the ULN identifies all patients with NASH, this finding needs to be further validated in other studies. Moreover, the presence of fibrosis was associated with ALT, triglycerides and age, identifying a subset of patients with more severe disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
Open AccessArticle
Relevant Aspects of Nutritional and Dietary Interventions in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(10), 25168-25198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161025168 - 23 Oct 2015
Cited by 68 | Viewed by 4313
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the main cause of liver disease worldwide. NAFLD is linked to circumstances such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. Since the obesity figures and related comorbidities are increasing, NAFLD has turned into a [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the main cause of liver disease worldwide. NAFLD is linked to circumstances such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. Since the obesity figures and related comorbidities are increasing, NAFLD has turned into a liver problem that has become progressively more common. Currently, there is no effective drug therapy for NAFLD; therefore, interventions in lifestyles remain the first line of treatment. Bearing in mind that adherence rates to this type of treatment are poor, great efforts are currently focused on finding novel therapeutic agents for the prevention in the development of hepatic steatosis and its progression to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. This review presents a compilation of the scientific evidence found in the last years showing the results of interventions in lifestyle, diet, and behavioral therapies and research results in human, animal and cell models. Possible therapeutic agents ranging from supplementation with vitamins, amino acids, prebiotics, probiotics, symbiotics, polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols to interventions with medicinal plants are analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Weekly Treatment of 2-Hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin Improves Intracellular Cholesterol Levels in LDL Receptor Knockout Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(9), 21056-21069; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160921056 - 02 Sep 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3840
Abstract
Recently, the importance of lysosomes in the context of the metabolic syndrome has received increased attention. Increased lysosomal cholesterol storage and cholesterol crystallization inside macrophages have been linked to several metabolic diseases, such as atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Two-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-B-CD) [...] Read more.
Recently, the importance of lysosomes in the context of the metabolic syndrome has received increased attention. Increased lysosomal cholesterol storage and cholesterol crystallization inside macrophages have been linked to several metabolic diseases, such as atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Two-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-B-CD) is able to redirect lysosomal cholesterol to the cytoplasm in Niemann-Pick type C1 disease, a lysosomal storage disorder. We hypothesize that HP-B-CD ameliorates liver cholesterol and intracellular cholesterol levels inside Kupffer cells (KCs). Hyperlipidemic low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout (Ldlr−/−) mice were given weekly, subcutaneous injections with HP-B-CD or control PBS. In contrast to control injections, hyperlipidemic mice treated with HP-B-CD demonstrated a shift in intracellular cholesterol distribution towards cytoplasmic cholesteryl ester (CE) storage and a decrease in cholesterol crystallization inside KCs. Compared to untreated hyperlipidemic mice, the foamy KC appearance and liver cholesterol remained similar upon HP-B-CD administration, while hepatic campesterol and 7α-hydroxycholesterol levels were back increased. Thus, HP-B-CD could be a useful tool to improve intracellular cholesterol levels in the context of the metabolic syndrome, possibly through modulation of phyto- and oxysterols, and should be tested in the future. Additionally, these data underline the existence of a shared etiology between lysosomal storage diseases and NAFLD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Pathophysiology of Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2082; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17122082 - 11 Dec 2016
Cited by 77 | Viewed by 8374
Abstract
The physiopathology of fatty liver and metabolic syndrome are influenced by diet, life style and inflammation, which have a major impact on the severity of the clinicopathologic outcome of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A short comprehensive review is provided on current knowledge of [...] Read more.
The physiopathology of fatty liver and metabolic syndrome are influenced by diet, life style and inflammation, which have a major impact on the severity of the clinicopathologic outcome of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A short comprehensive review is provided on current knowledge of the pathophysiological interplay among major circulating effectors/mediators of fatty liver, such as circulating lipids, mediators released by adipose, muscle and liver tissues and pancreatic and gut hormones in relation to diet, exercise and inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Molecular Pathogenesis of NASH
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1575; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091575 - 20 Sep 2016
Cited by 72 | Viewed by 5749
Abstract
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the main cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world and a major health problem, owing to its close association with obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. NASH progression results from numerous events originating within the liver, as [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the main cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world and a major health problem, owing to its close association with obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. NASH progression results from numerous events originating within the liver, as well as from signals derived from the adipose tissue and the gastrointestinal tract. In a fraction of NASH patients, disease may progress, eventually leading to advanced fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Understanding the mechanisms leading to NASH and its evolution to cirrhosis is critical to identifying effective approaches for the treatment of this condition. In this review, we focus on some of the most recent data reported on the pathogenesis of NASH and its fibrogenic progression, highlighting potential targets for treatment or identification of biomarkers of disease progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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A Guide to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Childhood and Adolescence
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 947; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060947 - 15 Jun 2016
Cited by 73 | Viewed by 5769
Abstract
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is now the most prevalent form of chronic liver disease, affecting 10%–20% of the general paediatric population. Within the next 10 years it is expected to become the leading cause of liver pathology, liver failure and indication for [...] Read more.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is now the most prevalent form of chronic liver disease, affecting 10%–20% of the general paediatric population. Within the next 10 years it is expected to become the leading cause of liver pathology, liver failure and indication for liver transplantation in childhood and adolescence in the Western world. While our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this disease remains limited, it is thought to be the hepatic manifestation of more widespread metabolic dysfunction and is strongly associated with a number of metabolic risk factors, including insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, cardiovascular disease and, most significantly, obesity. Despite this, ”paediatric” NAFLD remains under-studied, under-recognised and, potentially, undermanaged. This article will explore and evaluate our current understanding of NAFLD in childhood and adolescence and how it differs from adult NAFLD, in terms of its epidemiology, pathophysiology, natural history, diagnosis and clinical management. Given the current absence of definitive radiological and histopathological diagnostic tests, maintenance of a high clinical suspicion by all members of the multidisciplinary team in primary and specialist care settings remains the most potent of diagnostic tools, enabling early diagnosis and appropriate therapeutic intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Role of Hedgehog Signaling Pathway in NASH
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060857 - 01 Jun 2016
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3534
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the number one cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world. Although only a minority of patients will ultimately develop end-stage liver disease, it is not yet possible to efficiently predict who will progress and, most [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the number one cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world. Although only a minority of patients will ultimately develop end-stage liver disease, it is not yet possible to efficiently predict who will progress and, most importantly, effective treatments are still unavailable. Better understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease is necessary to improve the clinical management of NAFLD patients. Epidemiological data indicate that NAFLD prognosis is determined by an individual’s response to lipotoxic injury, rather than either the severity of exposure to lipotoxins, or the intensity of liver injury. The liver responds to injury with a synchronized wound-healing response. When this response is abnormal, it leads to pathological scarring, resulting in progressive fibrosis and cirrhosis, rather than repair. The hedgehog pathway is a crucial player in the wound-healing response. In this review, we summarize the pre-clinical and clinical evidence, which demonstrate the role of hedgehog pathway dysregulation in NAFLD pathogenesis, and the preliminary data that place the hedgehog pathway as a potential target for the treatment of this disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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NAFLD and NASH in HCV Infection: Prevalence and Significance in Hepatic and Extrahepatic Manifestations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060803 - 25 May 2016
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 4612
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to review and up to date the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and their significance in both accelerating progression of HCV-related liver disease and development of HCV-associated [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to review and up to date the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and their significance in both accelerating progression of HCV-related liver disease and development of HCV-associated extrahepatic diseases. The reported mean prevalence of HCV-related NAFLD was 55%, whereas NASH was reported in 4%–10% of cases. HCV genotype 3 directly induces fatty liver deposition, namely “viral steatosis” and it is associated with the highest prevalence and degree of severity, whereas, HCV non-3 genotype infection showed lower prevalence of steatosis, which is associated with metabolic factors and insulin resistance. The host’s genetic background predisposes him or her to the development of steatosis. HCV’s impairment of lipid and glucose metabolism causes fatty liver accumulation; this seems to be a viral strategy to optimize its life cycle. Irrespective of insulin resistance, HCV-associated NAFLD, in a degree-dependent manner, contributes towards accelerating the liver fibrosis progression and development of hepatocellular carcinoma by inducing liver inflammation and oxidative stress. Furthermore, NAFLD is associated with the presence of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis. In addition, HCV-related “metabolic steatosis” impairs the response rate to interferon-based treatment, whereas it seems that “viral steatosis” may harm the response rate to new oral direct antiviral agents. In conclusion, a high prevalence of NAFLD occurs in HCV infections, which is, at least in part, induced by the virus, and that NAFLD significantly impacts progression of the liver disease, therapeutic response, and some extrahepatic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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The Natural Course of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 774; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050774 - 20 May 2016
Cited by 232 | Viewed by 9368
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most prevalent form of chronic liver disease in the world, paralleling the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). NAFLD exhibits a histological spectrum, ranging from “bland steatosis” to the more aggressive necro-inflammatory form, [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most prevalent form of chronic liver disease in the world, paralleling the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). NAFLD exhibits a histological spectrum, ranging from “bland steatosis” to the more aggressive necro-inflammatory form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which may accumulate fibrosis to result in cirrhosis. Emerging data suggests fibrosis, rather than NASH per se, to be the most important histological predictor of liver and non-liver related death. Nevertheless, only a small proportion of individuals develop cirrhosis, however the large proportion of the population affected by NAFLD has led to predictions that NAFLD will become a leading cause of end stage liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and indication for liver transplantation. HCC may arise in non-cirrhotic liver in the setting of NAFLD and is associated with the presence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and male gender. The MetS and its components also play a key role in the histological progression of NAFLD, however other genetic and environmental factors may also influence the natural history. The importance of NAFLD in terms of overall survival extends beyond the liver where cardiovascular disease and malignancy represents additional important causes of death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Extra-Hepatic Cancers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 717; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050717 - 12 May 2016
Cited by 84 | Viewed by 6615
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease but the second cause of death among NAFLD patients are attributed to malignancies at both gastrointestinal (liver, colon, esophagus, stomach, and pancreas) and extra-intestinal sites (kidney in men, and breast [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease but the second cause of death among NAFLD patients are attributed to malignancies at both gastrointestinal (liver, colon, esophagus, stomach, and pancreas) and extra-intestinal sites (kidney in men, and breast in women). Obesity and related metabolic abnormalities are associated with increased incidence or mortality for a number of cancers. NAFLD has an intertwined relationship with metabolic syndrome and significantly contributes to the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but recent evidence have fuelled concerns that NAFLD may be a new, and added, risk factor for extra-hepatic cancers, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. In this review we critically appraise key studies on NAFLD-associated extra-hepatic cancers and speculate on how NAFLD may influence carcinogenesis at these sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Vascular Damage in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Possible Role of Iron and Ferritin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050675 - 05 May 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3377
Abstract
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in Western countries. Recent data indicated that NAFLD is a risk factor by itself contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease independently of classical known risk factors. Hyperferritinemia and mild [...] Read more.
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in Western countries. Recent data indicated that NAFLD is a risk factor by itself contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease independently of classical known risk factors. Hyperferritinemia and mild increased iron stores are frequently observed in patients with NAFLD and several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the role of iron, through oxidative stress and interaction with insulin metabolism, in the development of vascular damage. Moreover, iron depletion has been shown to decrease atherogenesis in experimental models and in humans. This review presents the recent evidence on epidemiology, pathogenesis, and the possible explanation of the role of iron and ferritin in the development of cardiovascular damage in patients with NAFLD, and discusses the possible interplay between metabolic disorders associated with NAFLD and iron in the development of cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Definitions of Normal Liver Fat and the Association of Insulin Sensitivity with Acquired and Genetic NAFLD—A Systematic Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050633 - 27 Apr 2016
Cited by 70 | Viewed by 4680
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) covers a spectrum of disease ranging from simple steatosis (NAFL) to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and fibrosis. “Obese/Metabolic NAFLD” is closely associated with obesity and insulin resistance and therefore predisposes to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. NAFLD can [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) covers a spectrum of disease ranging from simple steatosis (NAFL) to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and fibrosis. “Obese/Metabolic NAFLD” is closely associated with obesity and insulin resistance and therefore predisposes to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. NAFLD can also be caused by common genetic variants, the patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) or the transmembrane 6 superfamily member 2 (TM6SF2). Since NAFL, irrespective of its cause, can progress to NASH and liver fibrosis, its definition is of interest. We reviewed the literature to identify data on definition of normal liver fat using liver histology and different imaging tools, and analyzed whether NAFLD caused by the gene variants is associated with insulin resistance. Histologically, normal liver fat content in liver biopsies is most commonly defined as macroscopic steatosis in less than 5% of hepatocytes. In the population-based Dallas Heart Study, the upper 95th percentile of liver fat measured by proton magnetic spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in healthy subjects was 5.6%, which corresponds to approximately 15% histological liver fat. When measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based techniques such as the proton density fat fraction (PDFF), 5% macroscopic steatosis corresponds to a PDFF of 6% to 6.4%. In contrast to “Obese/metabolic NAFLD”, NAFLD caused by genetic variants is not associated with insulin resistance. This implies that NAFLD is heterogeneous and that “Obese/Metabolic NAFLD” but not NAFLD due to the PNPLA3 or TM6SF2 genetic variants predisposes to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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NAFLD and Increased Aortic Stiffness: Parallel or Common Physiopathological Mechanisms?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040460 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2525
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the leading cause of chronic liver diseases worldwide. Liver inflammation and fibrosis related to NAFLD contribute to disease progression and increasing liver-related mortality and morbidity. Increasing data suggest that NAFLD may be linked to atherosclerotic vascular [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the leading cause of chronic liver diseases worldwide. Liver inflammation and fibrosis related to NAFLD contribute to disease progression and increasing liver-related mortality and morbidity. Increasing data suggest that NAFLD may be linked to atherosclerotic vascular disease independent of other established cardiovascular risk factors. Central arterial stiffness has been recognized as a measure of cumulative cardiovascular risk marker load, and the measure of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV) is regarded as the gold standard assessment of aortic stiffness. It has been shown that increased aortic stiffness predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in several clinical settings, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, a well-known condition associated with advanced stages of NAFLD. Furthermore, recently-published studies reported a strong association between NAFLD and increased arterial stiffness, suggesting a possible link in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and NAFLD. We sought to review the published data on the associations between NAFLD and aortic stiffness, in order to better understand the interplay between these two conditions and identify possible common physiopathological mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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NAFLD and Chronic Kidney Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040562 - 14 Apr 2016
Cited by 51 | Viewed by 6266
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in developed countries and it is now considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Evidence linking NAFLD to the development and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is emerging [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in developed countries and it is now considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Evidence linking NAFLD to the development and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is emerging as a popular area of scientific interest. The rise in simultaneous liver-kidney transplantation as well as the significant cost associated with the presence of chronic kidney disease in the NAFLD population make this entity a worthwhile target for screening and therapeutic intervention. While several cross-sectional and case control studies have been published to substantiate these theories, very little data exists on the underlying cause of NAFLD and CKD. In this review, we will discuss the most recent publications on the diagnosis of NAFLD as well new evidence regarding the pathophysiology of NAFLD and CKD as an inflammatory disorder. These mechanisms include the role of obesity, the renin-angiotensin system, and dysregulation of fructose metabolism and lipogenesis in the development of both disorders. Further investigation of these pathways may lead to novel therapies that aim to target the NAFLD and CKD. However, more prospective studies that include information on both renal and liver histology will be necessary in order to understand the relationship between these diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Role of Serum Uric Acid and Ferritin in the Development and Progression of NAFLD
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040548 - 12 Apr 2016
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3934
Abstract
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), tightly linked to the metabolic syndrome (MS), has emerged as a leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Since it is potentially progressive towards non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatic fibrosis, up to cirrhosis and its associated complications, the [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), tightly linked to the metabolic syndrome (MS), has emerged as a leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Since it is potentially progressive towards non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatic fibrosis, up to cirrhosis and its associated complications, the need for predictive factors of NAFLD and of its advanced forms is mandatory. Despite the current “gold standard” for the assessment of liver damage in NAFLD being liver biopsy, in recent years, several non-invasive tools have been designed as alternatives to histology, of which fibroscan seems the most promising. Among the different serum markers considered, serum uric acid (SUA) and ferritin have emerged as possible predictors of severity of liver damage in NAFLD. In fact, as widely described in this review, they share common pathogenetic pathways and are both associated with hepatic steatosis and MS, thus suggesting a likely synergistic action. Nevertheless, the power of these serum markers seems to be too low if considered alone, suggesting that they should be included in a wider perspective together with other metabolic and biochemical parameters in order to predict liver damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Metabolic Syndrome after Liver Transplant
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040490 - 02 Apr 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4635
Abstract
Liver transplant is the unique curative therapy for patients with acute liver failure or end-stage liver disease, with or without hepatocellular carcinoma. Increase of body weight, onset of insulin resistance and drug-induced alterations of metabolism are reported in liver transplant recipients. In this [...] Read more.
Liver transplant is the unique curative therapy for patients with acute liver failure or end-stage liver disease, with or without hepatocellular carcinoma. Increase of body weight, onset of insulin resistance and drug-induced alterations of metabolism are reported in liver transplant recipients. In this context, post-transplant diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and arterial hypertension can be often diagnosed. Multifactorial illnesses occurring in the post-transplant period represent significant causes of morbidity and mortality. This is especially true for metabolic syndrome. Non-alcoholic steatosis and steatohepatitis are hepatic manifestations of metabolic syndrome and after liver transplant both recurrent and de novo steatosis can be found. Usually, post-transplant steatosis shows an indolent outcome with few cases of fibrosis progression. However, in the post-transplant setting, both metabolic syndrome and steatosis might play a key role in the stratification of morbidity and mortality risk, being commonly associated with cardiovascular disease. The single components of metabolic syndrome can be treated with targeted drugs while lifestyle intervention is the only reasonable therapeutic approach for transplant patients with non-alcoholic steatosis or steatohepatitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Diet, Microbiota, Obesity, and NAFLD: A Dangerous Quartet
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040481 - 01 Apr 2016
Cited by 56 | Viewed by 5769
Abstract
Recently, the importance of the gut-liver-adipose tissue axis has become evident. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic disease of a systemic metabolic disorder that radiates from energy-surplus induced adiposopathy. The gut microbiota has tremendous influences in our whole-body metabolism, and is [...] Read more.
Recently, the importance of the gut-liver-adipose tissue axis has become evident. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic disease of a systemic metabolic disorder that radiates from energy-surplus induced adiposopathy. The gut microbiota has tremendous influences in our whole-body metabolism, and is crucial for our well-being and health. Microorganisms precede humans in more than 400 million years and our guest flora evolved with us in order to help us face aggressor microorganisms, to help us maximize the energy that can be extracted from nutrients, and to produce essential nutrients/vitamins that we are not equipped to produce. However, our gut microbiota can be disturbed, dysbiota, and become itself a source of stress and injury. Dysbiota may adversely impact metabolism and immune responses favoring obesity and obesity-related disorders such as insulin resistance/diabetes mellitus and NAFLD. In this review, we will summarize the latest evidence of the role of microbiota/dysbiota in diet-induced obesity and NAFLD, as well as the potential therapeutic role of targeting the microbiota in this set. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Gut Microbiota and Lifestyle Interventions in NAFLD
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040447 - 25 Mar 2016
Cited by 43 | Viewed by 8084
Abstract
The human digestive system harbors a diverse and complex community of microorganisms that work in a symbiotic fashion with the host, contributing to metabolism, immune response and intestinal architecture. However, disruption of a stable and diverse community, termed “dysbiosis”, has been shown to [...] Read more.
The human digestive system harbors a diverse and complex community of microorganisms that work in a symbiotic fashion with the host, contributing to metabolism, immune response and intestinal architecture. However, disruption of a stable and diverse community, termed “dysbiosis”, has been shown to have a profound impact upon health and disease. Emerging data demonstrate dysbiosis of the gut microbiota to be linked with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although the exact mechanism(s) remain unknown, inflammation, damage to the intestinal membrane, and translocation of bacteria have all been suggested. Lifestyle intervention is undoubtedly effective at improving NAFLD, however, not all patients respond to these in the same manner. Furthermore, studies investigating the effects of lifestyle interventions on the gut microbiota in NAFLD patients are lacking. A deeper understanding of how different aspects of lifestyle (diet/nutrition/exercise) affect the host–microbiome interaction may allow for a more tailored approach to lifestyle intervention. With gut microbiota representing a key element of personalized medicine and nutrition, we review the effects of lifestyle interventions (diet and physical activity/exercise) on gut microbiota and how this impacts upon NAFLD prognosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Telomeres, NAFLD and Chronic Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030383 - 15 Mar 2016
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 4034
Abstract
Telomeres consist of repeat DNA sequences located at the terminal portion of chromosomes that shorten during mitosis, protecting the tips of chromosomes. During chronic degenerative conditions associated with high cell replication rate, progressive telomere attrition is accentuated, favoring senescence and genomic instability. Several [...] Read more.
Telomeres consist of repeat DNA sequences located at the terminal portion of chromosomes that shorten during mitosis, protecting the tips of chromosomes. During chronic degenerative conditions associated with high cell replication rate, progressive telomere attrition is accentuated, favoring senescence and genomic instability. Several lines of evidence suggest that this process is involved in liver disease progression: (a) telomere shortening and alterations in the expression of proteins protecting the telomere are associated with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma; (b) advanced liver damage is a feature of a spectrum of genetic diseases impairing telomere function, and inactivating germline mutations in the telomerase complex (including human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (hTERT) and human Telomerase RNA Component (hTERC)) are enriched in cirrhotic patients independently of the etiology; and (c) experimental models suggest that telomerase protects from liver fibrosis progression. Conversely, reactivation of telomerase occurs during hepatocarcinogenesis, allowing the immortalization of the neoplastic clone. The role of telomere attrition may be particularly relevant in the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver, an emerging cause of advanced liver disease. Modulation of telomerase or shelterins may be exploited to prevent liver disease progression, and to define specific treatments for different stages of liver disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Mitochondrial Molecular Pathophysiology of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Proteomics Approach
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030281 - 15 Mar 2016
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3891
Abstract
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic liver condition that can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer. It is considered an emerging health problem due to malnourishment or a high-fat diet (HFD) intake, which is observed worldwide. It is well known [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic liver condition that can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer. It is considered an emerging health problem due to malnourishment or a high-fat diet (HFD) intake, which is observed worldwide. It is well known that the hepatocytes’ apoptosis phenomenon is one of the most important features of NAFLD. Thus, this review focuses on revealing, through a proteomics approach, the complex network of protein interactions that promote fibrosis, liver cell stress, and apoptosis. According to different types of in vitro and murine models, it has been found that oxidative/nitrative protein stress leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, which plays a major role in stimulating NAFLD damage. Human studies have revealed the importance of novel biomarkers, such as retinol-binding protein 4, lumican, transgelin 2 and hemoglobin, which have a significant role in the disease. The post-genome era has brought proteomics technology, which allows the determination of molecular pathogenesis in NAFLD. This has led to the search for biomarkers which improve early diagnosis and optimal treatment and which may effectively prevent fatal consequences such as cirrhosis or cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Extracellular Vesicles: A New Frontier in Biomarker Discovery for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030376 - 14 Mar 2016
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 5757
Abstract
In recent years, the global burden of obesity and diabetes has seen a parallel rise in other metabolic complications, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This condition, once thought to be a benign accumulation of hepatic fat, is now recognized as a [...] Read more.
In recent years, the global burden of obesity and diabetes has seen a parallel rise in other metabolic complications, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This condition, once thought to be a benign accumulation of hepatic fat, is now recognized as a serious and prevalent disorder that is conducive to inflammation and fibrosis. Despite the rising incidence of NAFLD, there is currently no reliable method for its diagnosis or staging besides the highly invasive tissue biopsy. This limitation has resulted in the study of novel circulating markers as potential candidates, one of the most popular being extracellular vesicles (EVs). These submicron membrane-bound structures are secreted from stressed and activated cells, or are formed during apoptosis, and are known to be involved in intercellular communication. The cargo of EVs depends upon the parent cell and has been shown to be changed in disease, as is their abundance in the circulation. The role of EVs in immunity and epigenetic regulation is widely attested, and studies showing a correlation with disease severity have made these structures a favorable target for diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes. This review will highlight the research that is available on EVs in the context of NAFLD, the current limitations, and projections for their future utility in a clinical setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Bidirectional Relationships and Disconnects between NAFLD and Features of the Metabolic Syndrome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030367 - 11 Mar 2016
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 3772
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents a wide spectrum of liver disease from simple steatosis, to steatohepatitis, (both with and without liver fibrosis), cirrhosis and end-stage liver failure. NAFLD also increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and both HCC and end stage [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents a wide spectrum of liver disease from simple steatosis, to steatohepatitis, (both with and without liver fibrosis), cirrhosis and end-stage liver failure. NAFLD also increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and both HCC and end stage liver disease may markedly increase risk of liver-related mortality. NAFLD is increasing in prevalence and is presently the second most frequent indication for liver transplantation. As NAFLD is frequently associated with insulin resistance, central obesity, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and hyperglycaemia, NAFLD is often considered the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. There is growing evidence that this relationship between NAFLD and metabolic syndrome is bidirectional, in that NAFLD can predispose to metabolic syndrome features, which can in turn exacerbate NAFLD or increase the risk of its development in those without a pre-existing diagnosis. Although the relationship between NAFLD and metabolic syndrome is frequently bidirectional, recently there has been much interest in genotype/phenotype relationships where there is a disconnect between the liver disease and metabolic syndrome features. Such potential examples of genotypes that are associated with a dissociation between liver disease and metabolic syndrome are patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein-3 (PNPLA3) (I148M) and transmembrane 6 superfamily member 2 protein (TM6SF2) (E167K) genotypes. This review will explore the bidirectional relationship between metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, and will also discuss recent insights from studies of PNPLA3 and TM6SF2 genotypes that may give insight into how and why metabolic syndrome features and liver disease are linked in NAFLD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Type 2 Diabetes in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Hepatitis C Virus Infection—Liver: The “Musketeer” in the Spotlight
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030355 - 09 Mar 2016
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 5670
Abstract
The pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) involves chronic hyperinsulinemia due to systemic and hepatic insulin resistance (IR), which if uncorrected, will lead to progressive pancreatic beta cell failure in predisposed individuals. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a spectrum of fatty (simple [...] Read more.
The pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) involves chronic hyperinsulinemia due to systemic and hepatic insulin resistance (IR), which if uncorrected, will lead to progressive pancreatic beta cell failure in predisposed individuals. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a spectrum of fatty (simple steatosis and steatohepatitis) and non-fatty liver changes (NASH-cirrhosis with or without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)) that are commonly observed among individuals with multiple metabolic derangements, notably including visceral obesity, IR and T2D. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is also often associated with both hepatic steatosis and features of a specific HCV-associated dysmetabolic syndrome. In recent years, the key role of the steatotic liver in the development of IR and T2D has been increasingly recognized. Thus, in this comprehensive review we summarize the rapidly expanding body of evidence that links T2D with NAFLD and HCV infection. For each of these two liver diseases with systemic manifestations, we discuss the epidemiological burden, the pathophysiologic mechanisms and the clinical implications. To date, substantial evidence suggests that NAFLD and HCV play a key role in T2D development and that the interaction of T2D with liver disease may result in a “vicious circle”, eventually leading to an increased risk of all-cause mortality and liver-related and cardiovascular complications. Preliminary evidence also suggests that improvement of NAFLD is associated with a decreased incidence of T2D. Similarly, the prevention of T2D following HCV eradication in the era of direct-acting antiviral agents is a biologically plausible result. However, additional studies are required for further clarification of mechanisms involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Relationship between Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Psoriasis: A Novel Hepato-Dermal Axis?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020217 - 05 Feb 2016
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 3996
Abstract
Over the past 10 years, it has become increasingly evident that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a multisystem disease that affects multiple extra-hepatic organ systems and interacts with the regulation of several metabolic and immunological pathways. In this review we discuss the [...] Read more.
Over the past 10 years, it has become increasingly evident that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a multisystem disease that affects multiple extra-hepatic organ systems and interacts with the regulation of several metabolic and immunological pathways. In this review we discuss the rapidly expanding body of clinical and epidemiological evidence supporting a strong association between NAFLD and chronic plaque psoriasis. We also briefly discuss the possible biological mechanisms underlying this association, and discuss treatment options for psoriasis that may influence NAFLD development and progression. Recent observational studies have shown that the prevalence of NAFLD (as diagnosed either by imaging or by histology) is remarkably higher in psoriatic patients (occurring in up to 50% of these patients) than in matched control subjects. Notably, psoriasis is associated with NAFLD even after adjusting for metabolic syndrome traits and other potential confounding factors. Some studies have also suggested that psoriatic patients are more likely to have the more advanced forms of NAFLD than non-psoriatic controls, and that psoriatic patients with NAFLD have more severe psoriasis than those without NAFLD. In conclusion, the published evidence argues for more careful evaluation and surveillance of NAFLD among patients with psoriasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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Open AccessReview
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Pros and Cons of Histologic Systems of Evaluation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(1), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17010097 - 13 Jan 2016
Cited by 44 | Viewed by 3066
Abstract
The diagnostic phenotype of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—in particular, the most significant form in terms of prognosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)—continues to rely on liver tissue evaluation, in spite of remarkable advances in non-invasive algorithms developed from serum-based tests and imaging-based or sonographically-based [...] Read more.
The diagnostic phenotype of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—in particular, the most significant form in terms of prognosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)—continues to rely on liver tissue evaluation, in spite of remarkable advances in non-invasive algorithms developed from serum-based tests and imaging-based or sonographically-based tests for fibrosis or liver stiffness. The most common tissue evaluation remains percutaneous liver biopsy; considerations given to the needle size and the location of the biopsy have the potential to yield the most representative tissue for evaluation. The pathologist’s efforts are directed to not only global diagnosis, but also assessment of severity of injury. Just as in other forms of chronic liver disease, these assessments can be divided into necroinflammatory activity, and fibrosis with parenchymal remodeling, in order to separately analyze potentially reversible (grade) and non-reversible (stage) lesions. These concepts formed the bases for current methods of evaluating the lesions that collectively comprise the phenotypic spectra of NAFLD. Four extant methods have specific applications; there are pros and cons to each, and this forms the basis of the review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
Open AccessReview
Does Lysosomial Acid Lipase Reduction Play a Role in Adult Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(12), 28014-28021; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161226085 - 25 Nov 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5068
Abstract
Lysosomal Acid Lipase (LAL) is a key enzyme involved in lipid metabolism, responsible for hydrolysing the cholesteryl esters and triglycerides. Wolman Disease represents the early onset phenotype of LAL deficiency rapidly leading to death. Cholesterol Ester Storage Disease is a late onset phenotype [...] Read more.
Lysosomal Acid Lipase (LAL) is a key enzyme involved in lipid metabolism, responsible for hydrolysing the cholesteryl esters and triglycerides. Wolman Disease represents the early onset phenotype of LAL deficiency rapidly leading to death. Cholesterol Ester Storage Disease is a late onset phenotype that occurs with fatty liver, elevated aminotransferase levels, hepatomegaly and dyslipidaemia, the latter characterized by elevated LDL-C and low HDL-C. The natural history and the clinical manifestations of the LAL deficiency in adults are not well defined, and the diagnosis is often incidental. LAL deficiency has been suggested as an under-recognized cause of dyslipidaemia and fatty liver. Therefore, LAL activity may be reduced also in non-obese patients presenting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), unexplained persistently elevated liver transaminases or with elevation in LDL cholesterol. In these patients, it could be indicated to test LAL activity. So far, very few studies have been performed to assess LAL activity in representative samples of normal subjects or patients with NAFLD. Moreover, no large study has been carried out in adult subjects with NAFLD or cryptogenic cirrhosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Research 2016)
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