Muscle Loss in Chronic Liver Diseases: The Example of Nonalcoholic Liver Disease

Nutrients. 2018 Sep 1;10(9):1195. doi: 10.3390/nu10091195.


Recent publications highlight a frequent loss of muscle mass in chronic liver diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and its association with a poorer prognosis. In NAFLD, given the role of muscle in energy metabolism, muscle loss promotes disease progression. However, liver damage may be directly responsible of this muscle loss. Indeed, muscle homeostasis depends on the balance between peripheral availability and action of anabolic effectors and catabolic signals. Moreover, insulin resistance of protein metabolism only partially explains muscle loss during NAFLD. Interestingly, some data indicate specific alterations in the liver⁻muscle axis, particularly in situations such as excess fructose/sucrose consumption, associated with increased hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) and endoplasmic reticulum stress. In this context, the liver will be responsible for a decrease in the peripheral availability of anabolic factors such as hormones and amino acids, and for the production of catabolic effectors such as various hepatokines, methylglyoxal, and uric acid. A better understanding of these liver⁻muscle interactions could open new therapeutic opportunities for the management of NAFLD patients.

Keywords: amino acid; endoplasmic reticulum stress; hepatokine; insulin resistance; methylglyoxal; protein metabolism; sarcopenia; uric acid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / physiopathology
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / complications*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / physiopathology
  • Proteostasis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcopenia / etiology*
  • Sarcopenia / metabolism
  • Sarcopenia / pathology
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Muscle Proteins