Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its connection with insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease

Nutrients. 2013 May 10;5(5):1544-60. doi: 10.3390/nu5051544.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is marked by hepatic fat accumulation not due to alcohol abuse. Several studies have demonstrated that NAFLD is associated with insulin resistance leading to a resistance in the antilipolytic effect of insulin in the adipose tissue with an increase of free fatty acids (FFAs). The increase of FFAs induces mitochondrial dysfunction and development of lipotoxicity. Moreover, in subjects with NAFLD, ectopic fat also accumulates as cardiac and pancreatic fat. In this review we analyzed the mechanisms that relate NAFLD with metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia and its association with the development and progression of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Atherosclerosis* / complications
  • Atherosclerosis* / metabolism
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / metabolism
  • Dyslipidemias* / complications
  • Dyslipidemias* / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver* / complications
  • Fatty Liver* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Pancreas / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin