Human Fatty Liver Disease: Old Questions and New Insights

Science. 2011 Jun 24;332(6037):1519-23. doi: 10.1126/science.1204265.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a burgeoning health problem that affects one-third of adults and an increasing number of children in developed countries. The disease begins with the aberrant accumulation of triglyceride in the liver, which in some individuals elicits an inflammatory response that can progress to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Although NAFLD is strongly associated with obesity and insulin resistance, its pathogenesis remains poorly understood, and therapeutic options are limited. Here, we discuss recent mechanistic insights into NAFLD, focusing primarily on those that have emerged from human genetic and metabolic studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatty Liver* / etiology
  • Fatty Liver* / genetics
  • Fatty Liver* / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver* / pathology
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Obesity
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Dietary Fats
  • Triglycerides