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Diabetes Obes Metab. 2010 May;12(5):365-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01176.x.

The role of adiponectin in the pathogenesis and treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Second Medical Clinic, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Ippokration Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is recognized as the most common type of chronic liver disease in Western countries and the leading cause of cryptogenic cirrhosis. Insulin resistance (IR) is a key factor in the pathogenesis of NAFLD, the latter being considered as the hepatic component of IR or metabolic syndrome (MetS). Although the pathogenesis of NAFLD is not fully elucidated, a complex interaction between adipokines and cytokines produced by adipocytes and/or inflammatory cells infiltrating adipose tissue appears to play a crucial role in MetS and NAFLD. Adiponectin is the most abundant and adipose-specific adipokine. In the liver, adiponectin acts through the activation of 5-AMP-activated protein kinase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha pathways and inhibition of toll-like receptor-4 mediated signalling. There is an evidence that adiponectin decreases hepatic and systematic IR and attenuates liver inflammation and fibrosis. Adiponectin generally predicts steatosis grade and severity of NAFLD, but it remains to be addressed to what extent this is a direct effect or related to the presence of more severe IR. Although there is no proven pharmacotherapy for the treatment of NAFLD, recent therapeutic strategies have focused on the indirect upregulation of adiponectin through the administration of various therapeutic agents and/or lifestyle modifications. Weight loss, through diet, lifestyle changes and/or medications including orlistat, sibutramine, rimonabant or bariatric surgery, increase adiponectin and may improve liver histology. Insulin sensitizers, including pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, and lipid-lowering agents, including statins and fibrates, also upregulate adiponectin and ameliorate liver histology. The wider use of new treatment approaches appears to signal the dawn of a new era in the management of NAFLD. In this adiponectin-focused review, the pathogenetic role and the potential therapeutic benefits of adiponectin in NAFLD are systematically analysed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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