Diagnosis and therapy of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Gastroenterology. 2008 May;134(6):1682-98. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2008.02.077.


The increasing prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, and the metabolic syndrome has significant implications for the future of chronic liver disease. The resultant increase in the number of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is expected to translate into increased numbers of patients with end-stage liver disease (cirrhosis), liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma. It is particularly important to identify the patients who are at greatest risk of these aforementioned complications of chronic liver disease, those nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Currently liver biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosis, but less invasive, highly accurate, and affordable screening tools are required. These tools may include radiologic or laboratory studies to identify patients noninvasively who may benefit from therapeutic interventions. Clinical scoring systems that may be used in general practice as initial screening tools also may prove useful. Most therapeutic modalities available or under development target the major pathways thought essential in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and often are directed at reducing body mass index and improving insulin resistance via pharmacologic, surgical, dietary, or exercise regimens. Other potential therapeutic agents directed at cytoprotection or reduction of fibrosis are under investigation. This article focuses on diagnosis and therapy available and under development for this chronic liver disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / therapy*
  • Hepatitis / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis / metabolism
  • Hepatitis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Biomarkers