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J Diabetes. 2012 Sep;4(3):266-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-0407.2012.00204.x.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the Western world. It is closely associated with metabolic syndrome. The alarming epidemics of diabetes and obesity have fueled an increasing prevalence of NAFLD, particularly among these high-risk groups. Histologically, NAFLD encompasses a disease spectrum ranging from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is characterized by hepatocyte injury, inflammation, and variable degrees of fibrosis on liver biopsy. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis can progress to cirrhosis in a fraction of patients. There is currently little understanding of risk factors for disease progression and the disease pathogenesis has not been fully defined. Liver biopsy remains the gold standard for diagnosis. Weight loss, dietary modification, and the treatment of underlying metabolic syndrome remain the mainstays of therapy once the diagnosis is established. There are no well-established pharmacological agents for treatment of NASH, although this is a subject of ongoing research.

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