Animal models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

World J Gastroenterol. 2012 May 21;18(19):2300-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i19.2300.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which excess fat accumulates in the liver of a patient without a history of alcohol abuse. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe form of NAFLD, can progress to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. NAFLD is regarded as a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome and incidence has been increasing worldwide in line with the increased prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hyperlipemia. Animal models of NAFLD/NASH give crucial information, not only in elucidating pathogenesis of NAFLD/NASH but also in examining therapeutic effects of various agents. An ideal model of NAFLD/NASH should correctly reflect both hepatic histopathology and pathophysiology of human NAFLD/NASH. Animal models of NAFLD/NASH are divided into genetic, dietary, and combination models. In this paper, we review commonly used animal models of NAFLD/NASH referring to their advantages and disadvantages.

Keywords: Animal model; Histopathology; Metabolic syndrome; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, Atherogenic
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology*
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver / physiopathology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease