Toxicant-associated steatohepatitis

Toxicol Pathol. 2013 Feb;41(2):343-60. doi: 10.1177/0192623312468517. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


Hepatotoxicity is the most common organ injury due to occupational and environmental exposures to industrial chemicals. A wide range of liver pathologies ranging from necrosis to cancer have been observed following chemical exposures both in humans and in animal models. Toxicant-associated fatty liver disease (TAFLD) is a recently named form of liver injury pathologically similar to alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Toxicant-associated steatohepatitis (TASH) is a more severe form of TAFLD characterized by hepatic steatosis, inflammatory infiltrate, and in some cases, fibrosis. While subjects with TASH have exposures to industrial chemicals, such as vinyl chloride, they do not have traditional risk factors for fatty liver such as significant alcohol consumption or obesity. Conventional biomarkers of hepatotoxicity including serum alanine aminotransferase activity may be normal in TASH, making screening problematic. This article examines selected chemical exposures associated with TAFLD in human subjects or animal models and concisely reviews the closely related NAFLD and ALD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Liver / chemically induced*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Vinyl Chloride / poisoning
  • Vinyl Chloride / toxicity


  • Biomarkers
  • Vinyl Chloride