Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;960:443-467. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-48382-5_19.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is in parallel with the obesity epidemic and it is the most common cause of liver diseases. The development of hepatic steatosis in majority of patients is linked to dietary fat ingestion. NAFLD is characterized by excess accumulation of triglyceride in the hepatocyte due to both increased inflow of free fatty acids and de novo hepatic lipogenesis. Insulin resistance with the deficiency of insulin receptor substrate-2 (IRS-2)-associated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity causes an increase in intracellular fatty acid-derived metabolites such as diacylglycerol, fatty acyl CoA or ceramides. Lipotoxicity-related mechanism of NAFLD could be explained still best by the "double-hit" hypothesis. Insulin resistance is the major mechanism in the development and progression of NAFLD/Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Metabolic oxidative stress, autophagy, and inflammation induce NASH progression. In the "first hit" the hepatic concentrations of diacylglycerol increase with rising saturated liver fat content in human NAFLD. Activities of mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes are decreased in liver tissue of patients with NASH. Furthermore, hepatocyte lipoapoptosis is a critical feature of NASH. In "second hit" reduced glutathione levels due to oxidative stress lead to overactivation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/c-Jun signaling that induces cell death in the steatotic liver. Accumulation of toxic levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is caused by the ineffectual cycling of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) oxidoreductin (Ero1)-protein disulfide isomerase oxidation cycle through the downstream of the inner membrane mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and Kelch like-ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)- Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) pathway.

Keywords: Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) 1; Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC); Autophagy; Ceramide; Cirrhosis; Diacylglycerol (DAG); Diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT); Fatty acid synthase (FAS); Hepatic steatosis; Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1); Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); Obesity; Protein kinase C (PKC); Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT); Sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c); Triglyceride; Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha); Unfolded protein response (UPR).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Triglycerides