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J Gastroenterol. 2012 Mar;47(3):215-25. doi: 10.1007/s00535-012-0527-x. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Inflammation and fibrogenesis in steatohepatitis.

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Department of Hepatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, 1-4-3, Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease consists of a range of disorders characterized by excess accumulation of triglyceride within the liver. Whereas simple steatosis is clinically benign, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) often progresses to cirrhosis. Inflammation and fibrogenesis are closely inter-related and are major targets of NASH research. Experimental data have shown that inflammation in NASH is caused by insulin resistance, systemic lipotoxicity due to overnutrition, lipid metabolites, the production of proinflammatory cytokines and adipokines by visceral adipose tissue, gut-derived bacteria, and oxidative stress. In NASH-associated fibrosis, the principal cell type responsible for extracellular matrix production is recognized as the hepatic stellate cell. Although the fibrotic mechanisms underlying NASH are largely similar to those observed in other chronic liver diseases, the altered patterns of circulating adipokines, the generation of oxidative stress, and the hormonal profile associated with the metabolic syndrome might play unique roles in the fibrogenesis associated with the disease. Information on the basic pathogenesis of NASH with a focus on the generation of inflammation and fibrosis will be discussed.

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