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Hepatol Commun. 2018 Oct 30;2(12):1425-1439. doi: 10.1002/hep4.1271. eCollection 2018 Dec.

Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress and Antioxidants Balance in Fatty Liver Disease.

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Cell Death and Proliferation Instituto Investigaciones Biomédicas de Barcelona, Consejo Superior Investigaciones Científicas Barcelona Spain.
Liver Unit, Hospital Cínic, IDIBAPS and CIBEREHD Barcelona Spain.
University of Southern California Research Center for ALPD Keck School of Medicine Los Angeles CA.


Fatty liver disease is one of the most prevalent forms of chronic liver disease that encompasses both alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are intermediate stages of ALD and NAFLD, which can progress to more advanced forms, including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Oxidative stress and particularly alterations in mitochondrial function are thought to play a significant role in both ASH and NASH and recognized to contribute to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as documented in experimental models. Despite the evidence of ROS generation, the therapeutic efficacy of treatment with antioxidants in patients with fatty liver disease has yielded poor results. Although oxidative stress is considered to be the disequilibrium between ROS and antioxidants, there is evidence that a subtle balance among antioxidants, particularly in mitochondria, is necessary to avoid the generation of ROS and hence oxidative stress. Conclusion: As mitochondria are a major source of ROS, the present review summarizes the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress in ASH and NASH and presents emerging data indicating the need to preserve mitochondrial antioxidant balance as a potential approach for the treatment of human fatty liver disease, which may pave the way for the design of future trials to test the therapeutic role of antioxidants in fatty liver disease.

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