Dietary fructose and intestinal barrier: potential risk factor in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

J Nutr Biochem. 2009 Sep;20(9):657-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2009.05.006.


Worldwide, not only the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically throughout the last three decades but also the incidences of co-morbid conditions such as diabetes type 2 and liver disease have increased. The 'hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome' is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and comprises a wide spectrum of stages of liver disease ranging from simple steatosis to liver cirrhosis. NAFLD of different stages is found in approximately 30% of adults and approximately 20% in the US population. Not just a general overnutrition but also an elevated intake of certain macronutrients such as fat and carbohydrates and herein particularly fructose has been claimed to be risk factors for the development for NAFLD; however, the etiology of this disease is still unknown. The present review outlines some of the potential mechanisms associated with the development of NAFLD and fructose intake with a particular focus on the role of the intestinal barrier functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Carbohydrates* / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates* / metabolism
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Liver / etiology*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / microbiology
  • Fructose* / administration & dosage
  • Fructose* / metabolism
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose