Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: association with obesity and insulin resistance, and influence of weight loss

Diabetes Metab. 2000 Apr;26(2):98-106.


Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a disease of emerging identity and importance, and is now considered as one of the commonest liver diseases in western countries. It is frequently associated with severe obesity, especially abdominal adiposity, and is intimately related to various clinical and biological markers of the insulin resistance syndrome. Especially, both the prevalence and the severity of liver steatosis are related to male sex, body mass index, waist circumference, hyperinsulinaemia, hypertriglyceridaemia and impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes. A substantial weight loss following gastroplasty is accompanied by a marked reduction in the prevalence and the severity of the various biological abnormalities of the metabolic syndrome and, concomitantly, by an important regression of liver steatosis in most obese patients. However, in some patients, this rapid and drastic weight loss may result in a mild increase in inflammatory lesions (hepatitis), despite the regression of steatosis, which might result from the rapid mobilization of fatty acids or cytokines from adipose tissue, especially visceral fat. The intimate relationship between NASH and obesity leads to the concept that NASH may be considered as another disease of affluence, as is the insulin resistance syndrome and perhaps being part of it.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / complications*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / therapy
  • Female
  • Hepatitis / blood
  • Hepatitis / complications*
  • Hepatitis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Sex Factors
  • Weight Loss*