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Diabetes Care. 2004 Aug;27(8):2057-66.

Approach to the pathogenesis and treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

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  • 1Liver Unit, University Hospital La Princesa, Autonomous University, Madrid, Spain.


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) represents an advanced stage of fatty liver disease developed in the absence of alcohol abuse. Its increasing prevalence in western countries, the diagnostic difficulties by noninvasive tests, and the possibility of progression to advanced fibrosis and even cirrhosis make NASH a challenge for hepatologists. NASH is frequently associated with type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, and several genetic and acquired factors are involved in its pathogenesis. Insulin resistance plays a central role in the development of a steatotic liver, which becomes vulnerable to additional injuries. Several cyclic mechanisms leading to self-enhancement of insulin resistance and hepatic accumulation of fat have been recently identified. Excess intracellular fatty acids, oxidant stress, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and mitochondrial dysfunction are causes of hepatocellular injury, thereby leading to disease progression and to the establishment of NASH. Intestinal bacterial overgrowth also plays a role, by increasing production of endogenous ethanol and proinflammatory cytokines. Therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating insulin resistance, normalizing lipoprotein metabolism, and downregulating inflammatory mediators with probiotics have promising potential.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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