Multiple target tissue effects of GLP-1 analogues on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

Pharmacol Res. 2018 Nov:137:219-229. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2018.09.025. Epub 2018 Oct 22.


Accumulating experimental and clinical evidences over the last decade indicate that GLP-1 analogues have a series of central nervous system and peripheral target tissues actions which are able to significantly influence the liver metabolism. GLP-1 analogues pleiotropic effects proved to be efficacious in T2DM subjects not only reducing liver steatosis and ameliorating NAFLD and NASH, but also in lowering plasma glucose and liver inflammation, improving cardiac function and protecting from kidney dysfunction. While the experimental and clinical data are robust, the precise mechanisms of action potentially involved in these protective multi-target effects need further investigation. Here we present a systematic review of the most recent literature data on the multi-target effects of GLP-1 analogues on the liver, on adipose and muscular tissue and on the nervous system, all capable of influencing significant aspects of the fatty liver disease physiopathology. From this analysis, we can conclude that the multi-target beneficial action of the GLP-1 analogues could explain the positive effects observed in animal and human models on progression of NAFLD to NASH.

Keywords: GLP-1 analogues; Insulin resistance; Liver inflammation; Liver steatosis; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – NAFLD; Non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis NASH; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1* / analogs & derivatives
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1* / pharmacology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism*


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1