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World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Aug 21;22(31):7006-16. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i31.7006.

Metabolic aspects of adult patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Ludovico Abenavoli, Department of Health Sciences, University Magna Graecia, Campus Germaneto, Viale Europa, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major cause of chronic liver disease and it encompasses a spectrum from simple steatosis to steatohepatitis, fibrosis, or cirrhosis. The mechanisms involved in the occurrence of NAFLD and its progression are probably due to a metabolic profile expressed within the context of a genetic predisposition and is associated with a higher energy intake. The metabolic syndrome (MS) is a cluster of metabolic alterations associated with an increased risk for the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. NAFLD patients have more than one feature of the MS, and now they are considered the hepatic components of the MS. Several scientific advances in understanding the association between NAFLD and MS have identified insulin resistance (IR) as the key aspect in the pathophysiology of both diseases. In the multi parallel hits theory of NAFLD pathogenesis, IR was described to be central in the predisposition of hepatocytes to be susceptible to other multiple pathogenetic factors. The recent knowledge gained from these advances can be applied clinically in the prevention and management of NAFLD and its associated metabolic changes. The present review analyses the current literature and highlights the new evidence on the metabolic aspects in the adult patients with NAFLD.


Insulin resistance; Metabolic syndrome; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Obesity

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