- 1Research Division, Joslin Diabetes Center, 1 Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215 USA.
- 2Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215 USA.
- 3Texas Liver Institute, University of Texas (UT) Health, San Antonio, TX USA.
Free PMC article
Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease worldwide. The increasing prevalence of NAFLD mirrors that of obesity and type 2 diabetes over the last two decades.
Main: In a two-way pathophysiologic relationship, NAFLD increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while the latter promotes the progression of simple fatty liver to a more advanced form called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH increases the risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which may require liver transplantation. With the absence of FDA-approved medications for NAFLD treatment, lifestyle intervention remains the only therapy. Lately, extensive research efforts have been aimed at modifying NASH fibrosis and developing noninvasive screening methods.
Conclusion: We highlight the pathophysiologic relationships between NAFLD and type 2 diabetes, discuss disease recognition, models of care, and current and emerging therapies for NASH treatment.