Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) comprises a disease spectrum ranging from simple steatosis (fatty liver) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis to fibrosis and cirrhosis. NAFLD has become the leading cause of chronic liver diseases as well as liver-related morbidity and mortality worldwide. NAFLD is also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, hyperlipidemia, and type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance in adipose tissues and the liver plays crucial roles in the progression of NAFLD. The family with sequence similarity 3 (FAM3) gene family is a cytokine-like gene family with four members designated FAM3A, FAM3B, FAM3C, and FAM3D, respectively. Increasing evidence suggests that the FAM3 gene family members are involved in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. In particular, FAM3B, also called pancreatic-derived factor, is an important regulator of glucose and lipid metabolism. In obesity status, increased expression and secretion of FAM3B in pancreatic islets and liver may induce lipid accumulation in the liver via the induction of hepatic insulin resistance and lipogenesis. FAM3A and FAM3D may also participate in the regulation of lipid and energy metabolism. In this brief review, we discussed the latest findings regarding the role of FAM3 gene family members, in particular FAM3B, in the pathogenesis of NAFLD.
Keywords: FAM3 gene family; NAFLD; PANDER; steatosis.
© 2013 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.