1Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology.
2Department of Pathology and Immunology.
4Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Sciences, Department of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Purpose of review: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a multisystem disease that affects not only the liver but also heart, pancreas, and kidney. We currently lack a comprehensive understanding of mechanisms responsible for the development of NASH-associated cardiomyopathy or the influence of sex on pathophysiology. There is a critical need to address these gaps in knowledge in order to accelerate translation of knowledge into clinical practice.
Recent findings: NASH and cardiovascular disease share common risk factors such as chronic inflammation, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance. Early cardiac dysfunction in NASH that is independent of obesity or other cardiometabolic risk factors suggests roles for liver-heart crosstalk in disease pathogenesis. Inflammation is a driving force in the pathogenesis of NASH, and it is likely that 'spill over' of NASH inflammation contributes to the development of cardiomyopathy. However, molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate NASH-associated cardiomyopathy remain unclear because of inherent limitations of experimental models. Even so, recent studies implicate inflammatory, metabolic, and physiologic mechanisms that enhance our understanding of NASH-associated cardiomyopathy and the role of liver-heart crosstalk.
Summary: An innovative, detailed, and mechanistic understanding of NASH-associated cardiomyopathy is relevant to public health and will be fundamental for the comprehensive care of these patients.