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World J Hepatol. 2015 Jun 8;7(10):1325-36. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i10.1325.

Oxidative stress: New insights on the association of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and atherosclerosis.

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Licia Polimeni, Francesco Angelico, Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents the most common and emerging chronic liver disease worldwide. It includes a wide spectrum of liver diseases ranging from simple fatty liver to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which may progress to fibrosis and more severe liver complications such as cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver mortality. NAFLD is strongly associated with obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and dyslipidaemia, and is now regarded as the liver manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. The increased mortality of patients with NAFLD is primarily a result of cardiovascular disease and, to a lesser extent, to liver related diseases. Increased oxidative stress has been reported in both patients with NAFLD and patient with cardiovascular risk factors. Thus, oxidative stress represents a shared pathophysiological disorder between the two conditions. Several therapeutic strategies targeting oxidative stress reduction in patients with NAFLD have been proposed, with conflicting results. In particular, vitamin E supplementation has been suggested for the treatment of non-diabetic, non-cirrhotic adults with active NASH, although this recommendation is based only on the results of a single randomized controlled trial. Other antioxidant treatments suggested are resveratrol, silybin, L-carnitine and pentoxiphylline. No trial so far, has evaluated the cardiovascular effects of antioxidant treatment in patients with NAFLD. New, large-scale studies including as end-point also the assessment of the atherosclerosis markers are needed.


Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; Oxidative stress

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