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J Investig Med. 2004 Dec;52(8):506-14. doi: 10.1136/jim-52-08-22.

Oxidative stress in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: pathogenesis and antioxidant therapies.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a common cause of chronic liver disease, a common finding on liver biopsy in those patients with abnormal blood transaminase levels, and a common cause of cryptogenic cirrhosis in the United States. The prevalence of this disorder is expected to rise with the increase in obesity, and the clinical spectrum can range from simple steatosis (fatty liver) to cirrhosis of the liver. Insulin resistance is thought to be pivotal for the development of steatosis, and oxidative stress may be a potential factor that can promote hepatic necroinflammation and fibrosis. Preliminary studies have examined the role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in animal and human studies of this disorder. Efforts to improve the hepatic antioxidant system could be achieved by optimizing the patient's diet, by supplementation with precursors for antioxidants, or by supplementation with essential metals and/or antioxidants. Randomized, controlled trials are required to examine these potential approaches using patients with this disorder.

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