Monday, December 10, 2012

Genetic and epigenetic variants influencing the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2012 December 7; 18(45): 6546-6551.
Published online 2012 December 7. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i45.6546.

Genetic and epigenetic variants influencing the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Introduction Only
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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common forms of chronic liver diseases and a cause of elevated serum aminotransferases worldwide. The prevalence of NAFLD in the general population of Western countries ranges from 20% to 30%[1-3]. Due to the alterations of diet structure and life style, the prevalence of NAFLD in developing countries has been increasing rapidly[4]. Recent studies, including one from our group indicate that the prevalence of NAFLD in Chinese population is about 15%[5-7]. The term NAFLD encompasses a morphological spectrum of diseases, ranging from simple fatty liver (SFL) to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatic cirrhosis, which may progress to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). SFL generally has a benign prognosis. Only a minority of them develop NASH, which is characterized by inflammation, fibrosis and liver cell injury[8,9].
NAFLD has been shown to be associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS), which comprises obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and high blood pressure with insulin resistance being the central mechanism. NAFLD is presently considered the hepatic manifestation of MetS[5,6,8,10].
It is generally believed that environmental and genetic factors interact to produce NAFLD phenotype and determine its progression. However, the detailed pathogenesis that determines which individual develops NAFLD remains unclear. Recently, the emerging field of epigenetics shed lights on the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease including NAFLD[11,12]. Elucidation of genetic and epigenetic factors that predispose an individual to NAFLD may lead to development of noninvasive biomarkers for early diagnosis of NAFLD and may allow early preventive and therapeutic strategies for the people at the high risk. This review summarizes recent contributions to the field of the genetic and epigenetic variations that influence the development of NAFLD...

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