Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: pathogenesis and models

Am J Transl Res. 2024 Feb 15;16(2):387-399. doi: 10.62347/KMSA5983. eCollection 2024.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a complex disease characterized by a massive accumulation of lipids in the liver, with a continuous progression of simple steatosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome; it is a severe public health risk and is currently the most common liver disease of the world. In addition to the fatty infiltration of the liver in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients, the field of liver transplantation faces similar obstacles. NAFLD and NASH primarily involve lipotoxicity, inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. However, the precise mechanisms and treatments remain unclear. Therapeutic approaches encompass exercise, weight control, as well as treatments targeting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory pathways. The role of animal models in research has become crucial as a key tool to explore the molecular mechanisms and potential treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Here, we summarized the current understanding of the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and discussed animal models commonly used in recent years.

Keywords: animal models; histopathology; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); pathogenesis; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review