Novel anti-diabetic agents in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a mini-review

Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2013 Dec;12(6):584-8. doi: 10.1016/s1499-3872(13)60092-2.


Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a spectrum that ranges from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and to cirrhosis. The recommended treatment for this disease includes measures that target obesity and insulin resistance. The present review summarizes the role of newer anti-diabetic agents in treatment of NAFLD.

Data sources: PubMed, MEDLINE and Ovid databases were searched to identify human studies between January 1990 and January 2013 using specified key words. Original studies that enrolled patients with a diagnosis of NAFLD or NASH and involved use of newer classes of anti-diabetic agents for a duration of at least 3 months were included.

Results: Out of the screened articles, four met eligibility criteria and were included in our review. The classes of newer anti-diabetic medications described were dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 analogues.

Conclusions: Liraglutide and Exenatide showed improvement in transaminases as well as histology in patients with NASH. Sitagliptin showed improvement in transaminases but limited studies are there to access its effect on histology. Further studies are needed to support use of newer anti-diabetic medications in patients with NAFLD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Exenatide
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver / enzymology
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Liraglutide
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrazines / therapeutic use*
  • Sitagliptin Phosphate
  • Transaminases / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Venoms / therapeutic use*


  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Peptides
  • Pyrazines
  • Triazoles
  • Venoms
  • Liraglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Exenatide
  • Transaminases
  • Sitagliptin Phosphate