Recent advances in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2010 May;26(3):202-8. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e328337b0c4.


Purpose of review: This review focuses on recent advances in the study of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, natural history and treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Recent findings: Study of hepatic lipid metabolism, insulin resistance, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, genetic variants and predisposition to altered metabolism and cell injury have contributed to our current understanding of NAFLD. Differential expression of microRNA in fatty liver and its implication in disease pathogenesis and therapeutic potential have continued to advance over the year. The pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma in steatohepatitis continues to be explored. The diagnostic utility of imaging and noninvasive markers seems promising in estimating the severity of steatosis and fibrosis. Liver biopsy remains the gold standard for accurately assessing NAFLD and steatohepatitis. Lifestyle modification and weight loss improve both metabolic profile and liver histology. Pharmacotherapy for the treatment of NAFLD remains lacking.

Summary: The underlying mechanism and pathogenesis of NAFLD remain elusive despite ongoing researches to make significant advances in the understanding of its natural history, pathogenesis and management. Pharmacotherapy has yet to indicate a promising therapeutic intervention. Current treatment focuses on managing underlying cardio-metabolic risks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Liver / etiology*
  • Fatty Liver / therapy*
  • Humans