Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and the renin-angiotensin system: Implications for treatment

World J Hepatol. 2012 Dec 27;4(12):327-31. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v4.i12.327.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the commonest liver disease in Western countries. Treatment of NAFLD is currently based on lifestyle measures and no effective pharmacologic treatment is available so far. Emerging evidence, mainly from animal studies, suggests that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system may be of major importance in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and indicates that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) as a potentially useful therapeutic approach. However, data from human studies are limited and contradictory. In addition, there are few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effects of ACE-I or ARB in patients with NAFLD and most data are from retrospective studies, pilot prospective studies and post hoc analyses of clinical trials. Accordingly, more and larger RCTs are needed to directly assess the effectiveness of ACE-I and ARBs in NAFLD.

Keywords: Angiotensin receptor blockers; Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; Fibrosis; Non alcoholic steatohepatitis; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.