Malnutrition is the most frequent and nearly universal consequence in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) that adversely affects clinical outcomes. Sarcopenia or skeletal muscle loss is the major component of malnutrition in liver disease. There are no effective therapies to prevent or reverse sarcopenia in ALD because the mechanisms are not well understood. Consequences of liver disease including hyperammonemia, hormonal perturbations, endotoxemia and cytokine abnormalities as well as the direct effects of alcohol and its metabolites contribute to sarcopenia in ALD. This article focuses on the prevalence, methods to quantify malnutrition, specifically sarcopenia and potential therapies including novel molecular targeted treatments.
Keywords: Alcoholic liver disease; Malnutrition; Mitochondria; Molecular pathways; Myostatin; Reactive oxygen species; Sarcopenia; Skeletal muscle loss.
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