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    Response to Comment on Parente et al. The Relationship Between Body Fat Distribution and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 2021;44:1706-1713. Parente Erika B,Dahlström Emma H,Harjutsalo Valma,Inkeri Jussi,Mutter Stefan,Forsblom Carol,Sandholm Niina,Gordin Daniel,Groop Per-Henrik Diabetes care 10.2337/dci21-0045
    Placebo effect on progression and regression in NASH: Evidence from a meta-analysis. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:The evaluation of the natural history of NASH has been limited. Currently, liver biopsy remains the gold standard in the assessment of NASH. Placebo-controlled trials represent a controlled environment with paired biopsies for the evaluation of NASH. This meta-analysis thus seeks to quantify the change severity of NASH over time, with patients on placebo arms from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to examine the natural history of NASH. METHODS:A search was conducted to include NASH RCTs with placebo treatment arms. Primary outcomes were (1) the resolution of NASH without worsening of fibrosis, (2) two-point reduction in NAFLD activity score without worsening of fibrosis, and (3) at least one-point reduction in fibrosis. Generalized linear mix model was used to estimate pooled proportion and mean differences. RESULTS:This meta-analysis of 43 RCTs included 2649 placebo-treated patients. The pooled estimate of NASH resolution and two-point NAFLD activity score reduction without worsening of fibrosis was 11.65% (95% CI: 7.98-16.71) and 21.11% (95% CI: 17.24-25.57). The rate of ≥1 stage reduction and progression of fibrosis was 18.82% (95% CI: 15.65-22.47) and 22.74% (CI: 19.63-26.17), respectively. Older age and African American ethnicity was associated with lower NASH resolution rate in placebo-treated patients. CONCLUSIONS:Despite the absence of any pharmacological interventions, a significant proportion of patients in the placebo arm demonstrated improvements in liver histology, highlighting the possibility that NASH is a disease that can not only progress but regress spontaneously over time. Additionally, histologic response in placebo-treated patients is helpful in future design of phase 2B and phase 3 trials. 10.1002/hep.32315
    Optimising the management of cardiovascular comorbidities in NAFLD patients: it's time to (re-) act! Kasper Philipp,Lang Sonja,Demir Muenevver,Steffen Hans-Michael Gut 10.1136/gutjnl-2021-326662
    Compromised hepatic mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation and reduced markers of mitochondrial turnover in human NAFLD. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:NAFLD and its more-advanced form, steatohepatitis (NASH), is associated with obesity and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular, liver-related, and all-cause mortality. Available human data examining hepatic mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and hepatic mitochondrial turnover in NAFLD and NASH are scant. APPROACH AND RESULTS:To investigate this relationship, liver biopsies were obtained from patients with obesity undergoing bariatric surgery and data clustered into four groups based on hepatic histopathological classification: Control (CTRL; no disease); NAFL (steatosis only); Borderline-NASH (steatosis with lobular inflammation or hepatocellular ballooning); and Definite-NASH (D-NASH; steatosis, lobular inflammation, and hepatocellular ballooning). Hepatic mitochondrial complete FAO to CO and the rate-limiting enzyme in β-oxidation (β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase activity) were reduced by ~40%-50% with D-NASH compared with CTRL. This corresponded with increased hepatic mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, as well as dramatic reductions in markers of mitochondrial biogenesis, autophagy, mitophagy, fission, and fusion in NAFL and NASH. CONCLUSIONS:These findings suggest that compromised hepatic FAO and mitochondrial turnover are intimately linked to increasing NAFLD severity in patients with obesity. 10.1002/hep.32324
    Association of metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease with kidney disease. Nature reviews. Nephrology Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by the accumulation of fat in more than 5% of hepatocytes in the absence of excessive alcohol consumption and other secondary causes of hepatic steatosis. In 2020, the more inclusive term metabolic (dysfunction)-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) - defined by broader diagnostic criteria - was proposed to replace the term NAFLD. The new terminology and revised definition better emphasize the pathogenic role of metabolic dysfunction and uses a set of definitive, inclusive criteria for diagnosis. Diagnosis of MAFLD is based on evidence of hepatic steatosis (as assessed by liver biopsy, imaging techniques or blood biomarkers and scores) in persons who are overweight or obese and have type 2 diabetes mellitus or metabolic dysregulation, regardless of the coexistence of other liver diseases or excessive alcohol consumption. The known association between NAFLD and chronic kidney disease (CKD) and our understanding that CKD can occur as a consequence of metabolic dysfunction suggests that individuals with MAFLD - who by definition have fatty liver and metabolic comorbidities - are at increased risk of CKD. In this Perspective article, we discuss the clinical associations between MAFLD and CKD, the pathophysiological mechanisms by which MAFLD may increase the risk of CKD and the potential drug treatments that may benefit both conditions. 10.1038/s41581-021-00519-y
    Distinct faecal mycobiome in patients with NAFLD. Hindson Jordan Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology 10.1038/s41575-022-00576-z
    Inflammation in obesity, diabetes, and related disorders. Rohm Theresa V,Meier Daniel T,Olefsky Jerrold M,Donath Marc Y Immunity Obesity leads to chronic, systemic inflammation and can lead to insulin resistance (IR), β-cell dysfunction, and ultimately type 2 diabetes (T2D). This chronic inflammatory state contributes to long-term complications of diabetes, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), retinopathy, cardiovascular disease, and nephropathy, and may underlie the association of type 2 diabetes with other conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. Here, we review the current understanding of the mechanisms underlying inflammation in obesity, T2D, and related disorders. We discuss how chronic tissue inflammation results in IR, impaired insulin secretion, glucose intolerance, and T2D and review the effect of inflammation on diabetic complications and on the relationship between T2D and other pathologies. In this context, we discuss current therapeutic options for the treatment of metabolic disease, advances in the clinic and the potential of immune-modulatory approaches. 10.1016/j.immuni.2021.12.013
    T cells: Friends and foes in NASH pathogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) In association with the pandemic spreading of obesity and metabolic syndrome, the prevalence of NAFLD-related HCC is increasing almost exponentially. In recent years, many of the underlining multifactorial causes of NAFLD have been identified, and the cellular mechanisms sustaining disease development have been dissected up to the single-cell level. However, there is still an urgent need to provide clinicians with more therapeutic targets, with particular attention on NAFLD-induced HCC, where immune checkpoint inhibitors do not work as efficiently. Whereas much effort has been invested in elucidating the role of innate immune response in the hepatic NAFLD microenvironment, only in the past decade have novel critical roles been unraveled for T cells in driving chronic inflammation toward HCC. The metabolic and immune microenvironment interact to recreate a tumor-promoting and immune-suppressive terrain, responsible for resistance to anticancer therapy. In this article, we will review the specific functions of several T-cell populations involved in NAFLD and NAFLD-driven HCC. We will illustrate the cellular crosstalk with other immune cells, regulatory networks or stimulatory effects of these interactions, and role of the metabolic microenvironment in influencing immune cell functionality. Finally, we will present the pros and cons of the current therapeutic strategies against NAFLD-related HCC and delineate possible novel approaches for the future. 10.1002/hep.32336
    Risk of Heart Failure in Patients With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: JACC Review Topic of the Week. Mantovani Alessandro,Byrne Christopher D,Benfari Giovanni,Bonapace Stefano,Simon Tracey G,Targher Giovanni Journal of the American College of Cardiology Heart failure (HF) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are 2 conditions that have become important global public health problems. Emerging evidence supports a strong and independent association between NAFLD and the risk of new-onset HF, and there are multiple potential pathophysiological mechanisms by which NAFLD may increase risk of new-onset HF. The magnitude of this risk parallels the underlying severity of NAFLD, especially the level of liver fibrosis. Patients with NAFLD develop accelerated coronary atherosclerosis, myocardial alterations (mainly cardiac remodeling and hypertrophy), and certain arrhythmias (mainly atrial fibrillation), which may precede and promote the development of new-onset HF. This brief narrative review aims to provide an overview of the association between NAFLD and increased risk of new-onset HF, discuss the underlying mechanisms that link these 2 diseases, and summarize targeted pharmacological treatments for NAFLD that might also reduce the risk of HF. 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.11.007
    Efficacy of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors for treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a systematic review. Mantovani Alessandro,Byrne Christopher D,Targher Giovanni The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology There are no licensed treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), but three different classes of antihyperglycaemic drugs-peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists, and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors-show promise in the treatment of the disease. We did a systematic review of randomised controlled trials examining the efficacy of PPAR agonists, GLP-1R agonists, or SGLT2 inhibitors for specifically treating NAFLD in adults with or without type 2 diabetes. A total of 25 active-controlled or placebo-controlled trials met our inclusion criteria: eight for PPAR agonists, ten for GLP-1R agonists, and seven for SGLT2 inhibitors. 2597 individuals (1376 [53%] men vs 1221 [47%] women; mean age 52 years (SD 6); mean BMI 32 kg/m (SD 3); 1610 [62%] with type 2 diabetes) were included. Pioglitazone, lanifibranor, and GLP1-R agonists (mostly liraglutide and semaglutide) improved individual histological features of NASH (ie, steatosis, ballooning, lobular inflammation) or achieved resolution of NASH without worsening of fibrosis. SGLT2 inhibitors (mostly empagliflozin and dapagliflozin) reduced liver fat content, as assessed by magnetic resonance-based techniques. 10.1016/S2468-1253(21)00261-2
    Clinical Care Pathway for the Risk Stratification and Management of Patients With Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Gastroenterology 10.1053/j.gastro.2022.01.013
    Polypill for prevention of cardiovascular diseases with focus on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: the PolyIran-Liver trial. European heart journal AIMS:Individuals with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or elevated liver enzymes have increased cardiovascular mortality but are often excluded from prevention trials. We investigated the effectiveness of fixed-dose combination therapy for the prevention of major cardiovascular events (MCVE) among individuals with and without presumed non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (pNASH). METHODS AND RESULTS:Two thousand four hundred participants over 50 were randomized into the intervention and control groups. Consent was obtained post-randomization. Consenting participants in the intervention group were given a pill containing aspirin, atorvastatin, hydrochlorothiazide, and valsartan (polypill). Participants were followed for 5 years. Presumed non-alcoholic steatohepatitis was diagnosed by ultrasonography and elevated liver enzymes. The primary outcome was MCVE. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01245608. Among the originally randomized population, 138 of 1249 in the intervention group (11.0%) and 137 of 1017 controls (13.5%) had MCVE during the 5-year follow-up [unadjusted risk ratio (RR) 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66-1.03]. Of the 1508 participants who consented to additional measurements and treatment, 63 of 787 (8.0%) intervention group participants and 86 of 721 (11.9%) controls had MCVE (adjusted RR 0.61, 95% CI 0.44-0.83). Although the adjusted relative risk of MCVE in participants with pNASH (0.35, 95% CI 0.17-0.74) was under half that for participants without pNASH (0.73, 95% CI 0.49-1.00), the difference did not reach statistical significance. There was no change in liver enzymes in participants taking polypill but among those with pNASH, there was a significant decrease after 60 months of follow-up (intragroup -12.0 IU/L, 95% CI -14.2 to -9.6). CONCLUSION:Among patients consenting to receive fixed-dose combination therapy, polypill is safe and effective for the prevention of MCVE, even among participants with fatty liver and increased liver enzymes. 10.1093/eurheartj/ehab919
    Non-invasive tests accurately stratify patients with NAFLD based on their risk of liver-related events. Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Previous studies on the prognostic significance of non-invasive liver fibrosis tests in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) lack direct comparison to liver biopsy. We aimed to evaluate the prognostic accuracy of fibrosis-4 (FIB4) and vibration-controlled transient elastography (VCTE), compared to liver biopsy, for the prediction of liver-related events (LREs) in NAFLD. METHODS:A total of 1,057 patients with NAFLD and baseline FIB4 and VCTE were included in a multicenter cohort. Of these patients, 594 also had a baseline liver biopsy. The main study outcome during follow-up was occurrence of LREs, a composite endpoint combining cirrhosis complications and/or hepatocellular carcinoma. Discriminative ability was evaluated using Harrell's C-index. RESULTS:FIB4 and VCTE showed good accuracy for the prediction of LREs, with Harrell's C-indexes >0.80 (0.817 [0.768-0.866] vs. 0.878 [0.835-0.921], respectively, p = 0.059). In the biopsy subgroup, Harrell's C-indexes of histological fibrosis staging and VCTE were not significantly different (0.932 [0.910-0.955] vs. 0.881 [0.832-0.931], respectively, p = 0.164), while both significantly outperformed FIB4 for the prediction of LREs. FIB4 and VCTE were independent predictors of LREs in the whole study cohort. The stepwise FIB4-VCTE algorithm accurately stratified the risk of LREs: compared to patients with "FIB4 <1.30", those with "FIB4 ≥1.30 then VCTE <8.0 kPa" had similar risk of LREs (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.3; 95% CI 0.3-6.8), whereas the risk of LREs significantly increased in patients with "FIB4 ≥1.30 then VCTE 8.0-12.0 kPa" (aHR 3.8; 95% CI 1.3-10.9), and even more for those with "FIB4 ≥1.30 then VCTE >12.0 kPa" (aHR 12.4; 95% CI 5.1-30.2). CONCLUSION:VCTE and FIB4 accurately stratify patients with NAFLD based on their risk of LREs. These non-invasive tests are alternatives to liver biopsy for the identification of patients in need of specialized management. LAY SUMMARY:The amount of fibrosis in the liver is closely associated with the risk of liver-related complications in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Liver biopsy currently remains the reference standard for the evaluation of fibrosis, but its application is limited by its invasiveness. Therefore, we evaluated the ability of non-invasive liver fibrosis tests to predict liver-related complications in NAFLD. Our results show that the blood test FIB4 and transient elastography stratify the risk of liver-related complications in NAFLD, and that transient elastography has similar prognostic accuracy as liver biopsy. These results support the use of non-invasive liver fibrosis tests instead of liver biopsy for the management of patients with NAFLD. 10.1016/j.jhep.2021.12.031
    A disease-promoting role of the intestinal mycobiome in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of hepatology 10.1016/j.jhep.2021.12.035
    Is it time for chronopharmacology in NASH? Journal of hepatology Liver homeostasis is strongly influenced by the circadian clock, an evolutionarily conserved mechanism synchronising physiology and behaviour across a 24-hour cycle. Disruption of the clock has been heavily implicated in the pathogenesis of metabolic dysfunction including non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Furthermore, many of the current NASH drug candidates specifically target pathways known to be under circadian control including fatty acid synthesis and signalling via the farnesoid X receptor, fibroblast growth factor 19 and 21, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α and γ, glucagon-like peptide 1, and the thyroid hormone receptor. Despite this, there has been little consideration of the application of chronopharmacology in NASH, a strategy whereby the timing of drug delivery is informed by biological rhythms in order to maximise efficacy and tolerability. Chronopharmacology has been shown to have significant clinical benefits in a variety of settings including cardiovascular disease and cancer therapy. The rationale for its application in NASH is therefore compelling. However, no clinical trials in NASH have specifically explored the impact of drug timing on disease progression and patient outcomes. This may contribute to the wide variability in reported outcomes of NASH trials and partly explain why even late-phase trials have stalled because of a lack of efficacy or safety concerns. In this opinion piece, we describe the potential for chronopharmacology in NASH, discuss how the major NASH drug candidates are influenced by circadian biology, and encourage greater consideration of the timing of drug administration in the design of future clinical trials. 10.1016/j.jhep.2021.12.039
    Therapeutic efficacy of FASN inhibition in preclinical models of HCC. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Aberrant activation of fatty acid synthase (FASN) is a major metabolic event during the development of HCC. We evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of TVB3664, a FASN inhibitor, either alone or in combination, for HCC treatment. APPROACH AND RESULTS:The therapeutic efficacy and the molecular pathways targeted by TVB3664, either alone or with tyrosine kinase inhibitors or the checkpoint inhibitor anti-programmed death ligand 1 antibody, were assessed in human HCC cell lines and multiple oncogene-driven HCC mouse models. RNA sequencing was performed to elucidate the effects of TVB3664 on global gene expression and tumor metabolism. TVB3664 significantly ameliorated the fatty liver phenotype in the aged mice and AKT-induced hepatic steatosis. TVB3664 monotherapy showed moderate efficacy in NASH-related murine HCCs, induced by loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog and MET proto-oncogene, receptor tyrosine kinase (c-MET) overexpression. TVB3664, in combination with cabozantinib, triggered tumor regression in this murine model but did not improve the responsiveness to immunotherapy. Global gene expression revealed that TVB3664 predominantly modulated metabolic processes, whereas TVB3664 synergized with cabozantinib to down-regulate multiple cancer-related pathways, especially the AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway and cell proliferation genes. TVB3664 also improved the therapeutic efficacy of sorafenib and cabozantinib in the FASN-dependent c-MYC-driven HCC model. However, TVB3664 had no efficacy nor synergistic effects in FASN-independent murine HCC models. CONCLUSIONS:This preclinical study suggests the limited efficacy of targeting FASN as monotherapy for HCC treatment. However, FASN inhibitors could be combined with other drugs for improved effectiveness. These combination therapies could be developed based on the driver oncogenes, supporting precision medicine approaches for HCC treatment. 10.1002/hep.32359
    Associations of muscle mass and grip strength with severe NAFLD: A prospective study of 333,295 UK Biobank participants. Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Cross-sectional studies have reported that lower muscle mass and strength are risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the evidence from prospective studies is limited. This study examined both the strength and pattern of the associations between these 2 physical capability markers and severe NAFLD using data from the UK Biobank study. METHODS:A total of 333,295 participants were included in this prospective study. Grip strength was measured using a Jamar J00105 hydraulic hand dynamometer, and the Janssen equation was used to estimate skeletal muscle mass by bioelectrical impedance. Muscle mass was adjusted for body weight and all exposures were sex-standardised. Associations of muscle mass and strength with severe NAFLD (defined as hospital admission or death) were first investigated by tertile of each exposure using Cox proportional hazard models. Non-linear associations were investigated using penalised cubic splines fitted in the Cox proportional hazard models. RESULTS:After a median follow-up of 10 years (IQR 9.3 to 10.7 years), 3,311 individuals had severe NAFLD (3,277 hospitalisations and 34 deaths). Compared with the lowest tertile of muscle mass, the risk of severe NAFLD was lower in the middle (hazard ratio 0.76; 95% CI 0.70-0.83) and the highest tertile (hazard ratio 0.46; 95% CI 0.40-0.52). Tertiles of grip strength showed a similar pattern. Non-linearity was only identified for muscle mass (p <0.001). Being on the lower tertile of grip strength and muscle mass accounted for 17.7% and 33.1% of severe NAFLD cases, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Lower muscle mass and grip strength were associated with higher risk of developing severe NAFLD. Interventions to improve physical capability may be protective, but this needs to be investigated in appropriately designed trials. LAY SUMMARY:Lower muscle mass - both quantity and quality - were associated with a higher risk of severe non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Therefore, improving muscle mass might be a protective factor against this increasing public health problem. 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.01.010
    Formyl peptide receptor 2 determines sex-specific differences in the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis. Lee Chanbin,Kim Jieun,Han Jinsol,Oh Dayoung,Kim Minju,Jeong Hayeong,Kim Tae-Jin,Kim Sang-Woo,Kim Jeong Nam,Seo Young-Su,Suzuki Ayako,Kim Jae Ho,Jung Youngmi Nature communications Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an important health concern worldwide and progresses into nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although prevalence and severity of NAFLD/NASH are higher in men than premenopausal women, it remains unclear how sex affects NAFLD/NASH pathophysiology. Formyl peptide receptor 2 (FPR2) modulates inflammatory responses in several organs; however, its role in the liver is unknown. Here we show that FPR2 mediates sex-specific responses to diet-induced NAFLD/NASH. NASH-like liver injury was induced in both sexes during choline-deficient, L-amino acid-defined, high-fat diet (CDAHFD) feeding, but compared with females, male mice had more severe hepatic damage. Fpr2 was more highly expressed in hepatocytes and healthy livers from females than males, and FPR2 deletion exacerbated liver damage in CDAHFD-fed female mice. Estradiol induced Fpr2 expression, which protected hepatocytes and the liver from damage. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that FPR2 mediates sex-specific responses to diet-induced NAFLD/NASH, suggesting a novel therapeutic target for NAFLD/NASH. 10.1038/s41467-022-28138-6
    Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists and Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 Inhibitors and Risk of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Pradhan Richeek,Yin Hui,Yu Oriana,Azoulay Laurent Diabetes care OBJECTIVE:To determine whether glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, separately, are associated with a decreased risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) compared with dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors among patients with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:We assembled two new-user, active comparator cohorts using the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink. The first included 30,291 and 225,320 new users of GLP-1 RA and DPP-4 inhibitors, respectively. The second included 41,184 and 148,421 new users of SGLT-2 inhibitors and DPP-4 inhibitors, respectively. Cox proportional hazards models weighted using propensity score fine stratification were fit to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs of NAFLD. We also determined whether the study drugs were associated with a decreased risk of hepatic transaminase elevation within restricted subcohorts. RESULTS:GLP-1 RA were associated with a lower incidence of NAFLD with a wide CI compared with DPP-4 inhibitors (3.9 vs. 4.6 per 1,000 person-years, respectively; HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.73-1.01). SGLT-2 inhibitors were associated with a decreased risk of NAFLD (5.4 vs. 7.0 per 1,000 person-years, respectively; HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.68-0.89). In the restricted subcohorts, both GLP-1 RA and SGLT-2 inhibitors were associated with a decreased risk of hepatic transaminase elevation (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.83-0.95, and HR 0.66, 95% CI 0.61-0.71). CONCLUSIONS:SGLT-2 inhibitors, and possibly GLP-1 RA, may be associated with a decreased incidence of NAFLD and hepatic transaminase elevation among patients with type 2 diabetes. 10.2337/dc21-1953
    Impaired Hepatic Mitochondrial Capacity in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Associated With Type 2 Diabetes. Gancheva Sofiya,Kahl Sabine,Pesta Dominik,Mastrototaro Lucia,Dewidar Bedair,Strassburger Klaus,Sabah Ehsan,Esposito Irene,Weiß Jürgen,Sarabhai Theresia,Wolkersdorfer Martin,Fleming Thomas,Nawroth Peter,Zimmermann Marcel,Reichert Andreas S,Schlensak Matthias,Roden Michael Diabetes care OBJECTIVE:Individuals with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver (steatosis) to steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, and cirrhosis. The hepatic metabolism of obese individuals adapts by upregulation of mitochondrial capacity, which may be lost during the progression of steatosis. However, the role of type 2 diabetes with regard to hepatic mitochondrial function in NASH remains unclear. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:We therefore examined obese individuals with histologically proven NASH without (OBE) (n = 30; BMI 52 ± 9 kg/m2) or with type 2 diabetes (T2D) (n = 15; 51 ± 7 kg/m2) as well as healthy individuals without liver disease (CON) (n = 14; 25 ± 2 kg/m2). Insulin sensitivity was measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps with d-[6,6-2H2]glucose. Liver biopsies were used for assessing mitochondrial capacity by high-resolution respirometry and protein expression. RESULTS:T2D and OBE had comparable hepatic fat content, lobular inflammation, and fibrosis. Oxidative capacity in liver tissue normalized for citrate synthase activity was 59% greater in OBE than in CON, whereas T2D presented with 33% lower complex II-linked oxidative capacity than OBE and higher H2O2 production than CON. Interestingly, those with NASH and hepatic fibrosis score ≥1 had lower oxidative capacity and antioxidant defense than those without fibrosis. CONCLUSIONS:Loss of hepatic mitochondrial adaptation characterizes NASH and type 2 diabetes or hepatic fibrosis and may thereby favor accelerated disease progression. 10.2337/dc21-1758
    Protecting against fatty liver disease. Crunkhorn Sarah Nature reviews. Drug discovery 10.1038/d41573-022-00029-x
    Small molecule SWELL1 complex induction improves glycemic control and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in murine Type 2 diabetes. Nature communications Type 2 diabetes is associated with insulin resistance, impaired pancreatic β-cell insulin secretion, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Tissue-specific SWELL1 ablation impairs insulin signaling in adipose, skeletal muscle, and endothelium, and impairs β-cell insulin secretion and glycemic control. Here, we show that I and SWELL1 protein are reduced in adipose and β-cells in murine and human diabetes. Combining cryo-electron microscopy, molecular docking, medicinal chemistry, and functional studies, we define a structure activity relationship to rationally-design active derivatives of a SWELL1 channel inhibitor (DCPIB/SN-401), that bind the SWELL1 hexameric complex, restore SWELL1 protein, plasma membrane trafficking, signaling, glycemic control and islet insulin secretion via SWELL1-dependent mechanisms. In vivo, SN-401 restores glycemic control, reduces hepatic steatosis/injury, improves insulin-sensitivity and insulin secretion in murine diabetes. These findings demonstrate that SWELL1 channel modulators improve SWELL1-dependent systemic metabolism in Type 2 diabetes, representing a first-in-class therapeutic approach for diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. 10.1038/s41467-022-28435-0
    Hepatic lymphatic vascular system in health and disease. Journal of hepatology In recent years, significant advances have been made in the study of lymphatic vessels with the identification of their specific markers and the development of research tools that have accelerated our understanding of their role in tissue homeostasis and disease pathogenesis in many organs. Compared to other organs, the lymphatic system in the liver is understudied despite its obvious importance for hepatic physiology and pathophysiology. In this review, we describe fundamental aspects of the hepatic lymphatic system and its role in a range of liver-related pathological conditions such as portal hypertension, ascites formation, malignant tumours, liver transplantation, congenital liver diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatic encephalopathy. The article concludes with a discussion regarding the modulation of lymphangiogenesis as a potential therapeutic strategy for liver diseases. 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.01.025
    Role of bile acids and their receptors in gastrointestinal and hepatic pathophysiology. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology Bile acids (BAs) can regulate their own metabolism and transport as well as other key aspects of metabolic homeostasis via dedicated (nuclear and G protein-coupled) receptors. Disrupted BA transport and homeostasis results in the development of cholestatic disorders and contributes to a wide range of liver diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinoma. Furthermore, impaired BA homeostasis can also affect the intestine, contributing to the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal and oesophageal cancer. Here, we provide a summary of the role of BAs and their disrupted homeostasis in the development of gastrointestinal and hepatic disorders and present novel insights on how targeting BA pathways might contribute to novel treatment strategies for these disorders. 10.1038/s41575-021-00566-7
    MAFLD, HCC and the dilemma of (changing) terminology in liver diseases. Hernaez Ruben,Peck-Radosavljevic Markus Gut 10.1136/gutjnl-2022-326992
    A global view of the interplay between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes. Stefan Norbert,Cusi Kenneth The lancet. Diabetes & endocrinology Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become an epidemic, much like other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The pathophysiology of NAFLD, particularly involving insulin resistance and subclinical inflammation, is not only closely linked to that of those NCDs but also to a severe course of the communicable disease COVID-19. Genetics alone cannot explain the large increase in the prevalence of NAFLD during the past 2 decades and the increase that is projected for the next decades. Impairment of glucose and lipid metabolic pathways, which has been propelled by the worldwide increase in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, is most likely behind the increase in people with NAFLD. As the prevalence of NAFLD varies among subgroups of patients with diabetes and prediabetes identified by cluster analyses, stratification of people with diabetes and prediabetes by major pathological mechanistic pathways might improve the diagnosis of NAFLD and prediction of its progression. In this Review, we aim to understand how diabetes can affect the development of hepatic steatosis and its progression to advanced liver damage. First, we emphasise the extent to which NAFLD and diabetes jointly occur worldwide. Second, we address the major mechanisms that are involved in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and type 2 diabetes, and we discuss whether these mechanisms place NAFLD in an important position to better understand the pathogenesis of NCDs and communicable diseases, such as COVID-19. Third, we address whether this knowledge can be used for personalised treatment of NAFLD in the future. Finally, we discuss the current treatment strategies for people with type 2 diabetes and their effectiveness in treating the spectrum of hepatic diseases from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and hepatic fibrosis. 10.1016/S2213-8587(22)00003-1
    Dual roles of B lymphocytes in mouse models of diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Karl Martin,Hasselwander Solveig,Zhou Yawen,Reifenberg Gisela,Kim Yong Ook,Park Kyoung-Sook,Ridder Dirk A,Wang Xiaoyu,Seidel Eric,Hövelmeyer Nadine,Straub Beate K,Li Huige,Schuppan Detlef,Xia Ning Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Growing evidence suggests an important role of B cells in the development of NAFLD. However, a detailed functional analysis of B cell subsets in NAFLD pathogenesis is lacking. APPROACH AND RESULTS:In wild-type mice, 21 weeks of high fat diet (HFD) feeding resulted in NAFLD with massive macrovesicular steatosis, modest hepatic and adipose tissue inflammation, insulin resistance, and incipient fibrosis. Remarkably, B (JHT) mice were partially protected whereas B cell harboring but antibody-deficient IgMi mice were completely protected from the development of hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. The common feature of JHT and IgMi mice is that they do not secrete antibodies, whereas HFD feeding in wild-type mice led to increased levels of serum IgG2c. Whereas JHT mice have no B cells at all, regulatory B cells were found in the liver of both wild-type and IgMi mice. HFD reduced the number of regulatory B cells and IL-10 production in the liver of wild-type mice, whereas these increased in IgMi mice. Livers of patients with advanced liver fibrosis showed abundant deposition of IgG and stromal B cells and low numbers of IL-10 expressing cells, compatible with our experimental data. CONCLUSIONS:B lymphocytes have both detrimental and protective effects in HFD-induced NAFLD. The lack of secreted pathogenic antibodies protects partially from NAFLD, whereas the presence of certain B cell subsets provides additional protection. IL-10-producing regulatory B cells may represent such a protective B cell subset. 10.1002/hep.32428
    Metabolic subtypes of patients with NAFLD exhibit distinctive cardiovascular risk profiles. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:We previously identified subsets of patients with NAFLD with different metabolic phenotypes. Here we align metabolomic signatures with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and genetic risk factors. APPROACH AND RESULTS:We analyzed serum metabolome from 1154 individuals with biopsy-proven NAFLD, and from four mouse models of NAFLD with impaired VLDL-triglyceride (TG) secretion, and one with normal VLDL-TG secretion. We identified three metabolic subtypes: A (47%), B (27%), and C (26%). Subtype A phenocopied the metabolome of mice with impaired VLDL-TG secretion; subtype C phenocopied the metabolome of mice with normal VLDL-TG; and subtype B showed an intermediate signature. The percent of patients with NASH and fibrosis was comparable among subtypes, although subtypes B and C exhibited higher liver enzymes. Serum VLDL-TG levels and secretion rate were lower among subtype A compared with subtypes B and C. Subtype A VLDL-TG and VLDL-apolipoprotein B concentrations were independent of steatosis, whereas subtypes B and C showed an association with these parameters. Serum TG, cholesterol, VLDL, small dense LDL , and remnant lipoprotein cholesterol were lower among subtype A compared with subtypes B and C. The 10-year high risk of CVD, measured with the Framingham risk score, and the frequency of patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 NAFLD risk allele were lower in subtype A. CONCLUSIONS:Metabolomic signatures identify three NAFLD subgroups, independent of histological disease severity. These signatures align with known CVD and genetic risk factors, with subtype A exhibiting a lower CVD risk profile. This may account for the variation in hepatic versus cardiovascular outcomes, offering clinically relevant risk stratification. 10.1002/hep.32427
    Risk factors for HCC in contemporary cohorts of patients with cirrhosis. Kanwal Fasiha,Khaderi Saira,Singal Amit G,Marrero Jorge A,Loo Nicole,Asrani Sumeet K,Amos Christopher I,Thrift Aaron P,Gu Xiangjun,Luster Michelle,Al-Sarraj Abeer,Ning Jing,El-Serag Hashem B Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Etiological risk factors for cirrhosis have changed in the last decade. It remains unclear to what extent these trends in cirrhosis risk factors have changed HCC risk. APPROACH AND RESULTS:We used data from two contemporary, prospective multiethnic cohorts of patients with cirrhosis: the Texas Hepatocellular Carcinoma Consortium Cohort and the Houston Veterans Administration Cirrhosis Surveillance Cohort. Patients with cirrhosis were enrolled from seven US centers and followed until HCC diagnosis, transplant, death, or June 30, 2021. We calculated the annual incidence rates for HCC and examined the effects of etiology, demographic, clinical, and lifestyle factors on the risk of HCC. We included 2733 patients with cirrhosis (mean age 60.1 years, 31.3% women). At enrollment, 19.0% had active HCV, 23.3% had cured HCV, 16.1% had alcoholic liver disease, and 30.1% had NAFLD. During 7406 person-years of follow-up, 135 patients developed HCC at an annual incidence rate of 1.82% (95% CI, 1.51-2.13). The annual HCC incidence rate was 1.71% in patients with cured HCV, 1.32% in patients with alcoholic liver disease, and 1.24% in patients with NAFLD cirrhosis. Compared to patients with NAFLD, the risk of progression to HCC was 2-fold higher in patients with cured HCV (HR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.24-3.35). Current smoking (HR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.01-2.63) and overweight/obesity (HR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.08-2.95) were also associated with HCC risk. CONCLUSIONS:HCC incidence among patients with cirrhosis was lower than previously reported. HCC risk was variable across etiologies, with higher risk in patients with HCV cirrhosis and lower risk in those with NAFLD cirrhosis. Current smoking and overweight/obesity increased HCC risk across etiologies. 10.1002/hep.32434
    Amelioration of hepatic steatosis by dietary essential amino acid-induced ubiquitination. Molecular cell Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a global health concern with no approved drugs. High-protein dietary intervention is currently the most effective treatment. However, its underlying mechanism is unknown. Here, using Drosophila oenocytes, the specialized hepatocyte-like cells, we find that dietary essential amino acids ameliorate hepatic steatosis by inducing polyubiquitination of Plin2, a lipid droplet-stabilizing protein. Leucine and isoleucine, two branched-chain essential amino acids, strongly bind to and activate the E3 ubiquitin ligase Ubr1, targeting Plin2 for degradation. We further show that the amino acid-induced Ubr1 activity is necessary to prevent steatosis in mouse livers and cultured human hepatocytes, providing molecular insight into the anti-NAFLD effects of dietary protein/amino acids. Importantly, split-intein-mediated trans-splicing expression of constitutively active UBR2, an Ubr1 family member, significantly ameliorates obesity-induced and high fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis in mice. Together, our results highlight activation of Ubr1 family proteins as a promising strategy in NAFLD treatment. 10.1016/j.molcel.2022.01.021
    Global multi-stakeholder endorsement of the MAFLD definition. The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology 10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00062-0
    Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and the Gut-Liver Axis: Exploring an Undernutrition Perspective. Gastroenterology Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic condition affecting one quarter of the global population. Although primarily linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome, undernutrition and the altered (dysbiotic) gut microbiome influence NAFLD progression. Both undernutrition and NAFLD prevalence are predicted to considerably increase, but how the undernourished gut microbiome contributes to hepatic pathophysiology remains far less studied. Here, we present undernutrition conditions with fatty liver features, including kwashiorkor and micronutrient deficiency. We then review the gut microbiota-liver axis, highlighting key pathways linked to NAFLD progression within both overnutrition and undernutrition. To conclude, we identify challenges and collaborative possibilities of emerging multiomic research addressing the pathology and treatment of undernourished NAFLD. 10.1053/j.gastro.2022.01.058
    Clinical characteristics, surveillance, treatment allocation, and outcomes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-related hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet. Oncology BACKGROUND:The clinical presentation and outcomes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)-related hepatocellular carcinoma are unclear when compared with hepatocellular carcinoma due to other causes. We aimed to establish the prevalence, clinical features, surveillance rates, treatment allocation, and outcomes of NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma. METHODS:In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE and Embase from inception until Jan 17, 2022, for articles in English that compared clinical features, and outcomes of NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma versus hepatocellular carcinoma due to other causes. We included cross-sectional and longitudinal observational studies and excluded paediatric studies. Study-level data were extracted from the published reports. The primary outcomes were (1) the proportion of hepatocellular carcinoma secondary to NAFLD, (2) comparison of patient and tumour characteristics of NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma versus other causes, and (3) comparison of surveillance, treatment allocation, and overall and disease-free survival outcomes of NAFLD-related versus non-NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma. We analysed proportional data using a generalised linear mixed model. Pairwise meta-analysis was done to obtain odds ratio (OR) or mean difference, comparing NAFLD-related with non-NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma. We evaluated survival outcomes using pooled analysis of hazard ratios. FINDINGS:Of 3631 records identified, 61 studies (done between January, 1980, and May, 2021; 94 636 patients) met inclusion criteria. Overall, the proportion of hepatocellular carcinoma cases secondary to NAFLD was 15·1% (95% CI 11·9-18·9). Patients with NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma were older (p<0·0001), had higher BMI (p<0·0001), and were more likely to present with metabolic comorbidities (diabetes [p<0·0001], hypertension [p<0·0001], and hyperlipidaemia [p<0·0001]) or cardiovascular disease at presentation (p=0·0055) than patients with hepatocellular carcinoma due to other causes. They were also more likely to be non-cirrhotic (38·5%, 27·9-50·2 vs 14·6%, 8·7-23·4 for hepatocellular carcinoma due to other causes; p<0·0001). Patients with NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma had larger tumour diameters (p=0·0087), were more likely to have uninodular lesions (p=0·0003), and had similar odds of Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stages, TNM stages, alpha fetoprotein concentration, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status to patients with non-NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma. A lower proportion of patients with NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma underwent surveillance (32·8%, 12·0-63·7) than did patients with hepatocellular carcinoma due to other causes (55·7%, 24·0-83·3; p<0·0001). There were no significant differences in treatment allocation (curative therapy, palliative therapy, and best supportive care) between patients with NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma and those with hepatocellular carcinoma due to other causes. Overall survival did not differ between the two groups (hazard ratio 1·05, 95% CI 0·92-1·20, p=0·43), but disease-free survival was longer for patients with NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma (0·79, 0·63-0·99; p=0·044). There was substantial heterogeneity in most analyses (I>75%), and all articles had low-to-moderate risk of bias. INTERPRETATION:NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma is associated with a higher proportion of patients without cirrhosis and lower surveillance rates than hepatocellular carcinoma due to other causes. Surveillance strategies should be developed for patients with NAFLD without cirrhosis who are at high risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. FUNDING:None. 10.1016/S1470-2045(22)00078-X
    Performance of routine risk scores for predicting cirrhosis-related morbidity in the community. Innes Hamish,Morling Joanne R,Buch Stephan,Hamill Victoria,Stickel Felix,Guha Indra Neil Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Models predicting an individual's 10-year risk of cirrhosis complications have not been developed for a community setting. Our objectives were to assess the performance of existing risk scores - both with and without genetic data - for predicting cirrhosis complications in the community. METHODS:We used a 2-stage study design. In stage 1, a systematic review was conducted to identify risk scores derived from routine liver blood tests that have demonstrated prior ability to predict cirrhosis-related complication events. Risk scores identified from stage 1 were tested in a UK Biobank subgroup, comprising participants with a risk factor for chronic liver disease (stage 2). Cirrhosis complications were defined as hospitalisation for liver cirrhosis or presentation with hepatocellular carcinoma. Discrimination of risk scores with and without genetic data was assessed using the Wolbers C-index, Harrell's adequacy index, and cumulative incidence curves. RESULTS:Twenty risk scores were identified from the stage-1 systematic review. For stage-2, 197,509 UK biobank participants were selected. The cumulative incidence of cirrhosis complications at 10 years was 0.58%; 95% CI 0.54-0.61 (1,110 events). The top performing risk scores were aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index (APRI: C-index 0.804; 95% CI 0.788-0.820) and fibrosis-4 index (FIB-4: C-index 0.780; 95% CI 0.764-0.795). The 10-year cumulative incidences of cirrhosis complications for participants with an APRI score exceeding the 90, 95 and 99 percentile were 3.30%, 5.42% and 14.83%, respectively. Inclusion of established genetic risk loci associated with cirrhosis added <5% of new prognostic information to the APRI score and improved the C-index only minimally (i.e. from 0.804 to 0.809). CONCLUSIONS:Accessible risk scores derived from routine blood tests (particularly APRI and FIB-4) can be repurposed to estimate 10-year risk of cirrhosis morbidity in the community. Genetic data improves performance only minimally. LAY SUMMARY:New approaches are needed in community settings to reduce the late diagnosis of chronic liver disease. Thus, in a community cohort, we assessed the ability of 20 routine risk scores to predict 10-year risk of cirrhosis-related complications. We show that 2 routine risk scores in particular - "APRI" and "FIB-4" - could be repurposed to estimate an individual's 10-year risk of cirrhosis-related morbidity. Adding genetic risk factor information to these scores only modestly improved performance. 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.02.022
    Pregnancy-Associated Liver Diseases. Gastroenterology The liver disorders unique to pregnancy include hyperemesis gravidarum, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, acute fatty liver of pregnancy, and preeclampsia-associated hepatic impairment, specifically hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count syndrome (HELLP). Their importance lies in the significant maternal and fetal/neonatal morbidity and mortality. Expeditious diagnosis and clinical evaluation is critical to ensure timely, appropriate care and minimize risks to the pregnant woman and her fetus/baby. A multidisciplinary approach is essential, including midwives, maternal-fetal-medicine specialists, anesthetists, neonatologists, and hepatologists. 10.1053/j.gastro.2022.01.060
    Postprandial Plasma Lipidomics Reveal Specific Alteration of Hepatic-derived Diacylglycerols in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Gastroenterology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Hepatic energy metabolism is a dynamic process modulated by multiple stimuli. In nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), human studies typically focus on the static fasting state. We hypothesized that unique postprandial alterations in hepatic lipid metabolism are present in NAFLD. METHODS:In a prospective clinical study, 37 patients with NAFLD and 10 healthy control subjects ingested a standardized liquid meal with pre- and postprandial blood sampling. Postprandial plasma lipid kinetics were characterized at the molecular lipid species level by untargeted lipidomics, cluster analysis, and lipid particle isolation, then confirmed in a mouse model. RESULTS:There was a specific increase of multiple plasma diacylglycerol (DAG) species at 4 hours postprandially in patients with NAFLD but not in controls. This was replicated in a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis mouse model, where postprandial DAGs increased in plasma and concomitantly decreased in the liver. The increase in plasma DAGs appears early in the disease course, is dissociated from NAFLD severity and obesity, and correlates with postprandial insulin levels. Immunocapture isolation of very low density lipoprotein in human samples and stable isotope tracer studies in mice revealed that elevated postprandial plasma DAGs reflect hepatic secretion of endogenous, rather than meal-derived lipids. CONCLUSIONS:We identified a selective insulin-related increase in hepatic secretion of endogenously derived DAGs after a mixed meal as a unique feature of NAFLD. DAGs are known to be lipotoxic and associated with atherosclerosis. Although it is still unknown whether the increased exposure to hepatic DAGs contributes to extrahepatic manifestations and cardiovascular risk in NAFLD, our study highlights the importance of extending NAFLD research beyond the fasting state. 10.1053/j.gastro.2022.03.004
    Diagnosis of liver fibrosis in ageing patients with HIV at risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Italy and Canada: assessment of a two-tier pathway. Sebastiani Giada,Milic Jovana,Gioe Claudia,Al Hinai Al Shaima,Cervo Adriana,Lebouche Bertrand,Deschenes Marc,Cascio Antonio,Mazzola Giovanni,Guaraldi Giovanni The lancet. HIV BACKGROUND:Since the introduction of effective antiretroviral therapy, liver-related mortality has increased ten-fold in ageing people with HIV. This trend is driven by ageing-related metabolic conditions that cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects 35-65% of people with HIV. Clinically significant (stage 2-4) liver fibrosis develops in over 15% of people with HIV who have NAFLD. Strategies are needed to identify people with HIV at risk for significant liver fibrosis and reduce cirrhosis-related complications. Non-invasive tests to diagnose liver fibrosis include ultrasound-based transient elastography and serum biomarkers. Transient elastography is a feasible tool to assess liver fibrosis, but it is not largely accessible in HIV clinics. We aimed to determine whether a two-tier care pathway with assessment of simple serum biomarkers for fibrosis as first tier could reduce the need for the specialist transient elastography test (second tier). METHODS:Patients were consecutively identified through a clinical programme for liver disease in people with HIV in Canada and Italy. We applied a two-tier care pathway to three prospective cohorts of people with HIV at risk for NAFLD, defined as those with elevated liver transaminases, body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater, or diabetes. Patients with alcohol abuse or coinfection with hepatitis B or C viruses were excluded. Five simple serum biomarkers of fibrosis, based on liver transaminases, platelets, and BMI (fibrosis-4 index [FIB-4], BARD [BMI, AST to ALT ratio, diabetes] score, NAFLD fibrosis score, AST to ALT ratio, and AST-to-platelet ratio index [APRI]) were applied as a first-tier assessment to exclude significant liver fibrosis. All patients then received transient elastography. We assessed the decrease in referral for transient elastography that would have occurred based on biomarker assessment and discordance between high transient elastography (≥7·1 kPa), indicating significant liver fibrosis, and low serum fibrosis biomarkers (FIB-4 <1·3, BARD score 0-1, NAFLD fibrosis score less than -1·455, AST to ALT ratio <0·8, and APRI <0·5). We also assessed independent factors associated with that discordance by multivariable logistic regression analysis. FINDINGS:We included 1202 people with HIV at risk for NAFLD (mean age 51·2 years [SD 10·1], 914 [76%] male and 288 [24%] female, mean HIV duration 16·3 years [SE 9·7], mean BMI 26·5 Kg/m [SD 4·5]; prevalence of diabetes 49·5%). 222 (18·5%) of these participants had significant liver fibrosis according to transient elastography. Assessment of simple fibrosis biomarkers would have decreased transient elastography referrals between 22·5% (BARD score) and 82·4% (APRI). Discordance rate ranged from 3·9% (NAFLD fibrosis score) to 11·1% (APRI). After adjustment for age, sex, presence of diabetes, level of HDL cholesterol, and CD4 cell count, BMI (odds ratio 1·12, 95% CI 1·07-1·17) and triglyceride level (1·25, 1·08-1·46) were independent predictors of discordance for low APRI and high transient elastography. INTERPRETATION:Use of a two-tier pathway to identify liver fibrosis in ageing people with HIV at risk for NAFLD could reduce transient elastography examinations by a substantial proportion, reducing costs and helping to optimise use of resources in HIV care. FUNDING:GS is supported by a Senior Salary Award from Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (number 296306). 10.1016/S2352-3018(22)00069-8
    Reliability of histologic assessment for NAFLD and development of an expanded NAFLD activity score. Pai Rish K,Jairath Vipul,Hogan Malcolm,Zou Guangyong,Adeyi Oyedele A,Anstee Quentin M,Aqel Bashar A,Behling Cynthia,Carey Elizabeth J,Clouston Andrew D,Corey Kathleen,Feagan Brian G,Kleiner David E,Ma Christopher,McFarlane Stefanie C,Noureddin Mazen,Ratziu Vlad,Valasek Mark A,Younossi Zobair M,Harrison Stephen A,Loomba Rohit Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:The NASH Clinical Research Network histologic scoring system, the gold-standard NASH histology assessment for clinical trials, has demonstrated intrarater and interrater variability. An expert panel in a previous systematic Research and Development/University of California Los Angeles (RAND/UCLA) study determined that existing histologic scoring systems do not fully capture NASH disease activity and fibrosis, and standardized definitions of histologic features are needed. We evaluated the reliability of existing and alternate histologic measures and their correlations with a disease activity visual analog scale to propose optimal components for an expanded NAFLD activity score (NAS). APPROACH AND RESULTS:Four liver pathologists who were involved in the prior RAND/UCLA study underwent standardized training and multiple discussions with the goal of improving agreement. They were blinded to clinical information and scored histologic measures twice, ≥2 weeks apart, for 40 liver biopsies representing the full spectrum of NAFLD. Index intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) estimates demonstrated intrarater (0.80-0.85) and interrater (0.60-0.72) reliability. Hepatocyte ballooning items had similar interrater ICCs (0.68-0.79), including those extending scores from 0-2 to 0-4. Steatosis measures (interrater ICCs, 0.72-0.80) correlated poorly with disease activity. Correlations with disease activity were largest for hepatocyte ballooning and Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs), with both used to develop the expanded NAS (intrarater ICC, 0.90; interrater ICC, 0.80). Fibrosis measures had ICCs of 0.70-0.87. CONCLUSIONS:After extensive preparation among a group of experienced pathologists, we demonstrated improved reliability of multiple existing histologic NAFLD indices and fibrosis staging systems. Hepatocyte ballooning and MDBs most strongly correlated with disease activity and were used for the expanded NAS. Further validation including evaluation of responsiveness is required. 10.1002/hep.32475
    Nuclear HMGB1 protects from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease through negative regulation of liver X receptor. Personnaz Jean,Piccolo Enzo,Dortignac Alizée,Iacovoni Jason S,Mariette Jérôme,Rocher Vincent,Polizzi Arnaud,Batut Aurélie,Deleruyelle Simon,Bourdens Lucas,Delos Océane,Combes-Soia Lucie,Paccoud Romain,Moreau Elsa,Martins Frédéric,Clouaire Thomas,Benhamed Fadila,Montagner Alexandra,Wahli Walter,Schwabe Robert F,Yart Armelle,Castan-Laurell Isabelle,Bertrand-Michel Justine,Burlet-Schiltz Odile,Postic Catherine,Denechaud Pierre-Damien,Moro Cédric,Legube Gaelle,Lee Chih-Hao,Guillou Hervé,Valet Philippe,Dray Cédric,Pradère Jean-Philippe Science advances Dysregulations of lipid metabolism in the liver may trigger steatosis progression, leading to potentially severe clinical consequences such as nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLDs). Molecular mechanisms underlying liver lipogenesis are very complex and fine-tuned by chromatin dynamics and multiple key transcription factors. Here, we demonstrate that the nuclear factor HMGB1 acts as a strong repressor of liver lipogenesis. Mice with liver-specific deficiency display exacerbated liver steatosis, while -overexpressing mice exhibited a protection from fatty liver progression when subjected to nutritional stress. Global transcriptome and functional analysis revealed that the deletion of gene enhances LXRα and PPARγ activity. HMGB1 repression is not mediated through nucleosome landscape reorganization but rather via a preferential DNA occupation in a region carrying genes regulated by LXRα and PPARγ. Together, these findings suggest that hepatocellular HMGB1 protects from liver steatosis development. HMGB1 may constitute a new attractive option to therapeutically target the LXRα-PPARγ axis during NAFLD. 10.1126/sciadv.abg9055
    Risk of liver-related events by age and diabetes duration in patients with diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Zhang Xinrong,Wong Grace Lai-Hung,Yip Terry Cheuk-Fung,Cheung Johnny T K,Tse Yee-Kit,Hui Vicki Wing-Ki,Lin Huapeng,Lai Jimmy Che-To,Chan Henry Lik-Yuen,Kong Alice Pik-Shan,Wong Vincent Wai-Sun Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Several guidelines recommend screening for NAFLD in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). We aimed to determine if there is a threshold of age and duration of T2D for liver-related event development to guide screening strategies. APPROACH AND RESULTS:We conducted a territory-wide retrospective cohort study of adult patients with NAFLD and T2D diagnosed between 2000 and 2014 in Hong Kong to allow for at least 5 years of follow-up. The primary endpoint was liver-related events, defined as a composite of HCC and cirrhotic complications. This study included 7028 patients with NAFLD with T2D (mean age, 56.1 ± 13.3 years; 3363 male [47.9%]). During a follow-up of 77,308 person-years, there was a threshold effect with 1.1%, 4.9%, and 94.0% of patients developing liver-related events at the age of <40, 40-50, and ≥50 years, respectively. Similarly, 3.1%, 5.1%, and 91.8% of patients developed cirrhosis at the age of <40, 40-50, and ≥50 years, respectively. In contrast, liver-related events increased linearly with diabetes duration, with no difference in the annual incidence rate between the first 10 years of T2D diagnosis and subsequent years (0.06% vs. 0.10%; p = 0.136). On multivariable analysis, baseline age ≥50 years (adjusted HR [aHR] 2.01) and cirrhosis (aHR 3.12) were the strongest risk factors associated with liver-related events. Substitution of cirrhosis with the aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index or the Fibrosis-4 index yielded similar results. CONCLUSIONS:Age rather than duration of T2D predicts liver-related events in patients with NAFLD and T2D. It is reasonable to screen patients with NAFLD and T2D for advanced liver disease starting at 50 years of age. 10.1002/hep.32476
    Targeting hepatic kisspeptin receptor ameliorates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in a mouse model. The Journal of clinical investigation Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most common liver disease, has become a silent worldwide pandemic. The incidence of NAFLD correlates with the rise in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. A hallmark featureof NAFLD is excessive hepatic fat accumulation or steatosis, due to dysregulated hepatic fat metabolism, which can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Currently, there are no approved pharmacotherapies to treat this disease. Here, we have found that activation of the kisspeptin 1 receptor (KISS1R) signaling pathway has therapeutic effects in NAFLD. Using high-fat diet-fed mice, we demonstrated that a deletion of hepatic Kiss1r exacerbated hepatic steatosis. In contrast, enhanced stimulation of KISS1R protected against steatosis in wild-type C57BL/6J mice and decreased fibrosis using a diet-induced mouse model of NASH. Mechanistically, we found that hepatic KISS1R signaling activates the master energy regulator, AMPK, to thereby decrease lipogenesis and progression to NASH. In patients with NAFLD and in high-fat diet-fed mice, hepatic KISS1/KISS1R expression and plasma kisspeptin levels were elevated, suggesting a compensatory mechanism to reduce triglyceride synthesis. These findings establish KISS1R as a therapeutic target to treat NASH. 10.1172/JCI145889
    PNPLA3 rs738409 and Risk of Fibrosis in NAFLD: Exploring Mediation Pathways Through Intermediate Histological Features. Vilar-Gomez Eduardo,Pirola Carlos J,Sookoian Silvia,Wilson Laura A,Liang Tiebing,Chalasani Naga Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND & AIMS:It is unclear whether rs738409 (p.I148M) missense variant in patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) rs738409 promotes fibrosis development by triggering specific fibrogenic pathways or by creating an unfavorable microenvironment by promoting steatosis, inflammation, and ultimately fibrosis. We tested the hypothesis that intermediate histologic traits, including steatosis, lobular and portal inflammation, and ballooning may determine the effect of rs738409 on liver fibrosis among individuals with biopsy-proven NAFLD. APPROACH AND RESULTS:Causal mediation models including multiple mediators in parallel or sequentially were performed to examine the effect of rs738409, by decomposing its total effect on fibrosis severity into direct and indirect effects, mediated by histology traits in 1153 Non-Hispanic White (NHW) patients. Total effect of rs738409 on fibrosis was β=0.19 (95% CI: 0.09-0.29). The direct effect of rs738409 on fibrosis upon removing mediators' effects was β=0.09 (95% CI: 0.01-0.17) and the indirect effect of rs738409 on fibrosis through all mediators' effects were β=0.010 (95% CI: 0.04-0.15). Among all mediators, the greatest estimated effect size was displayed by portal inflammation (β=0.09, 95% CI: 0.05-0.12). Among different sequential combinations of histology traits, the path including lobular inflammation followed by ballooning degeneration displayed the most significant indirect effect (β=0.023, 95% CI: 0.011-0.037). Mediation analysis in a separate group of 404 individuals with biopsy-proven NAFLD from other races and ethnicity showed similar results. CONCLUSIONS:In NAFLD, nearly half of the total effect of the rs738409 G allele on fibrosis severity could be explained by a direct pathway, suggesting that rs738409 may promote fibrosis development by activating specific fibrogenic pathways. A large proportion of the indirect effect of rs738409 on fibrosis severity is mediated through portal inflammation. 10.1002/hep.32491
    An international survey on patterns of practice in NAFLD and expectations for therapies-The POP-NEXT project. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Differences between countries in NAFLD patient care pathways and management need to be understood prior to defining supranational guidelines. APPROACH AND RESULTS:We conducted an anonymous survey in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States among physicians providing specialist care for patients with NAFLD. Modalities of patient referral, patterns of practice (diagnosis, staging, monitoring, and indications for liver biopsy), therapeutic management, and expectations for future NASH pharmacotherapies were assessed, with 664 physicians completing the survey. Referral to surveyed physicians (SPs) mostly came from primary care. Prior to referral, NAFLD was rarely diagnosed, and noninvasive tests were not performed. Screening for comorbidities by SPs was incomplete and cardiovascular risk not calculated. Elastometry in combination with a serum biomarker was the most common first-line method for fibrosis staging. Liver biopsy, when performed, was often delayed by at least 1 year after diagnosis. It was, however, recommended even if noninvasive methods indicated advanced fibrosis. Frequent, biannual monitoring was conducted, including HCC surveillance in Stage 3 fibrosis. SPs rarely implemented and followed dietary and lifestyle changes themselves, and local availability of such programs was highly heterogenous. SPs favored pharmacotherapy based on mechanism of action adapted to the stage of the disease, including for early stages such as steatohepatitis with mild fibrosis. CONCLUSIONS:This international survey revealed major deficiencies and delays in referral pathways, suboptimal screening for comorbidities or managing of lifestyle modifications by SPs, and limited local availability for nonpharmacological interventions. Monitoring practices are not aligned with current guidelines. 10.1002/hep.32500
    Are there outcome differences between NAFLD and metabolic-associated fatty liver disease? Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND:Given the association of NAFLD with metabolic risks, a name change to MAFLD is proposed. We compared the long-term outcomes of NAFLD and MAFLD. METHODS:We included patients with fatty liver disease (FLD) from NHANES III and NHANES 2017-2018 (FLD defined as moderate to severe hepatic steatosis by ultrasound for NHANES III and as having a controlled attenuation parameter ≥285 dB/m for NHANES 2017-2018). NAFLD was defined as FLD without other liver diseases and excess alcohol use. Metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) was defined as FLD and metabolic dysfunction per criteria. All NHANES III participants had linked mortality data through December 31, 2015. RESULTS:NHANES III participants (n = 12,878): mean age 43.1 years old; 49.5% male; 20.3% with FLD, 16.5% with NAFLD, and 18.1% with MAFLD. NHANES 2017-2018 participants (n = 4328): mean age 48.0 years old; 49.1% male; 36.8% with FLD, 34.2% with NAFLD, and 36.3% with MAFLD. Excellent concordance was noted between MAFLD and NAFLD diagnosis in both data sets (kappa coefficient = 0.83-0.94). Except for components of each definition (e.g., alcohol use for MAFLD), no other major differences in clinical characteristics were noted. During up to 27 years of follow-up (median of 22.8 years), no differences in cumulative all-cause and cause-specific mortality were noted. In addition to the stage of fibrosis, insulin resistance was a predictor of liver mortality in NAFLD, and alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) was a predictor of mortality in MAFLD. CONCLUSIONS:MAFLD and NAFLD have similar clinical profiles and long-term outcomes. The increased liver-related mortality among NAFLD is driven by insulin resistance, and among MAFLD is primarily driven by ALD. 10.1002/hep.32499
    NFATc1 signaling drives chronic ER stress responses to promote NAFLD progression. Latif Muhammad Umair,Schmidt Geske Elisabeth,Mercan Sercan,Rahman Raza,Gibhardt Christine Silvia,Stejerean-Todoran Ioana,Reutlinger Kristina,Hessmann Elisabeth,Singh Shiv K,Moeed Abdul,Rehman Abdul,Butt Umer Javed,Bohnenberger Hanibal,Stroebel Philipp,Bremer Sebastian Christopher,Neesse Albrecht,Bogeski Ivan,Ellenrieder Volker Gut OBJECTIVES:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can persist in the stage of simple hepatic steatosis or progress to steatohepatitis (NASH) with an increased risk for cirrhosis and cancer. We examined the mechanisms controlling the progression to severe NASH in order to develop future treatment strategies for this disease. DESIGN:NFATc1 activation and regulation was examined in livers from patients with NAFLD, cultured and primary hepatocytes and in transgenic mice with differential hepatocyte-specific expression of the transcription factor ( . and ). Animals were fed with high-fat western diet (WD) alone or in combination with tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), a candidate drug for NAFLD treatment. NFATc1-dependent ER stress-responses, NLRP3 inflammasome activation and disease progression were assessed both in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS:NFATc1 expression was weak in healthy livers but strongly induced in advanced NAFLD stages, where it correlates with liver enzyme values as well as hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Moreover, high-fat WD increased NFATc1 expression, nuclear localisation and activation to promote NAFLD progression, whereas hepatocyte-specific depletion of the transcription factor can prevent mice from disease acceleration. Mechanistically, NFATc1 drives liver cell damage and inflammation through ER stress sensing and activation of the PERK-CHOP unfolded protein response (UPR). Finally, NFATc1-induced disease progression towards NASH can be blocked by TUDCA administration. CONCLUSION:NFATc1 stimulates NAFLD progression through chronic ER stress sensing and subsequent activation of terminal UPR signalling in hepatocytes. Interfering with ER stress-responses, for example, by TUDCA, protects fatty livers from progression towards manifest NASH. 10.1136/gutjnl-2021-325013
    Metformin treatment rescues CD8 T-cell response to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in mice with NAFLD. Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) represents the fastest growing underlying cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and has been shown to impact immune effector cell function. The standard of care for the treatment of advanced HCC is immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy, yet NASH may negatively affect the efficacy of ICI therapy in HCC. The immunologic mechanisms underlying the impact of NASH on ICI therapy remain unclear. METHODS:Herein, using multiple murine NASH models, we analysed the influence of NASH on the CD8 T-cell-dependent anti-PD-1 responses against liver cancer. We characterised CD8 T cells' transcriptomic, functional, and motility changes in mice receiving a normal diet (ND) or a NASH diet. RESULTS:NASH blunted the effect of anti-PD-1 therapy against liver cancers in multiple murine models. NASH caused a proinflammatory phenotypic change of hepatic CD8 T cells. Transcriptomic analysis revealed changes related to NASH-dependent impairment of hepatic CD8 T-cell metabolism. In vivo imaging analysis showed reduced motility of intratumoural CD8 T cells. Metformin treatment rescued the efficacy of anti-PD-1 therapy against liver tumours in NASH. CONCLUSIONS:We discovered that CD8+ T-cell metabolism is critically altered in the context of NASH-related liver cancer, impacting the effectiveness of ICI therapy - a finding which has therapeutic implications in patients with NASH-related liver cancer. LAY SUMMARY:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis represents the fastest growing cause of hepatocellular carcinoma. It is also associated with reduced efficacy of immunotherapy, which is the standard of care for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Herein, we show that non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is associated with impaired motility, metabolic function, and response to anti-PD-1 treatment in hepatic CD8 T cells, which can be rescued by metformin treatment. 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.03.010
    Should PNPLA3 polymorphism be performed in clinical practice in NAFLD patients to predict the risk of disease progression? Oliveira Claudia P Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) 10.1002/hep.32510
    Risk of cardiovascular disease and loss in life expectancy in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND & AIMS:Conflicting evidence exists on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and data are lacking on whether NAFLD increases mortality after a CVD event. Moreover, life expectancy in NAFLD has not been studied. We therefore examined CVD risk and life expectancy in NAFLD patients compared to the general population. APPROACH & RESULTS:In this nationwide population-based cohort, all patients with NAFLD diagnosis and without baseline CVD (ascertaining from the Swedish National Patient Register from 1987-2016, n=10,023) were matched 10:1 on age, sex and municipality to individuals from the general population (controls, n=96,313). CVD diagnosis and mortality were derived from national registers. Multistate models and flexible parametric survival models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for CVD risk and loss in life expectancy due to NAFLD. We identified 1,037 (10.3%) CVD events in patients with NAFLD and 4,041 (4.2%) in controls. CVD risk was 2.6-fold higher in NAFLD compared to controls (aHR=2.61, 95%CI=2.36-2.88) and was strongest for non-fatal CVD (aHR=3.71, 95%CI=3.29-4.17). After a non-fatal CVD event, the risk for all-cause mortality was similar between patients with NAFLD and controls (aHR=0.89, 95%CI=0.64-1.25). Life expectancy in patients with NAFLD was, on average, 2.8 years lower than controls, with the highest loss of life-years when NAFLD was diagnosed in middle age (40-60 years). CONCLUSIONS:NAFLD was associated with a higher risk of non-fatal CVD but did not impact post-CVD mortality risk. Patients diagnosed with NAFLD have a lower life expectancy than the general population. 10.1002/hep.32519
    Rare ATG7 genetic variants predispose patients to severe fatty liver disease. Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver disorders and has a strong heritable component. The aim of this study was to identify new loci that contribute to severe NAFLD by examining rare variants. METHODS:We performed whole-exome sequencing in individuals with NAFLD and advanced fibrosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 301) and examined the enrichment of likely pathogenic rare variants vs. the general population. This was followed by validation at the gene level. RESULTS:In patients with severe NAFLD, we observed an enrichment of the p.P426L variant (rs143545741 C>T; OR 5.26, 95% CI 2.1-12.6; p = 0.003) of autophagy-related 7 (ATG7), which we characterized as a loss-of-function, vs. the general population, and an enrichment in rare variants affecting the catalytic domain (OR 13.9; 95% CI 1.9-612; p = 0.002). In the UK Biobank cohort, loss-of-function ATG7 variants increased the risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (OR 3.30; 95% CI 1.1-7.5 and OR 12.30, 95% CI 2.6-36, respectively; p <0.001 for both). The low-frequency loss-of-function p.V471A variant (rs36117895 T>C) was also associated with severe NAFLD in the clinical cohort (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.2-2.5; p = 0.003), predisposed to hepatocellular ballooning (p = 0.007) evolving to fibrosis in a Liver biopsy cohort (n = 2,268), and was associated with liver injury in the UK Biobank (aspartate aminotransferase levels, p <0.001), with a larger effect in severely obese individuals in whom it was linked to hepatocellular carcinoma (p = 0.009). ATG7 protein localized to periportal hepatocytes, particularly in the presence of ballooning. In the Liver Transcriptomic cohort (n = 125), ATG7 expression correlated with suppression of the TNFα pathway, which was conversely upregulated in p.V471A carriers. CONCLUSIONS:We identified rare and low-frequency ATG7 loss-of-function variants that promote NAFLD progression by impairing autophagy and facilitating ballooning and inflammation. LAY SUMMARY:We found that rare mutations in a gene called autophagy-related 7 (ATG7) increase the risk of developing severe liver disease in individuals with dysmetabolism. These mutations cause an alteration in protein function and impairment of self-renewal of cellular content, leading to liver damage and inflammation. 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.03.031
    Complex regulation of fatty liver disease. Science (New York, N.Y.) Hepatic lipogenesis is fine-tuned by mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. 10.1126/science.abp8276
    Inhibition of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice by selective inhibition of mTORC1. Science (New York, N.Y.) Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) remain without effective therapies. The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway is a potential therapeutic target, but conflicting interpretations have been proposed for how mTORC1 controls lipid homeostasis. We show that selective inhibition of mTORC1 signaling in mice, through deletion of the RagC/D guanosine triphosphatase-activating protein folliculin (FLCN), promotes activation of transcription factor E3 (TFE3) in the liver without affecting other mTORC1 targets and protects against NAFLD and NASH. Disease protection is mediated by TFE3, which both induces lipid consumption and suppresses anabolic lipogenesis. TFE3 inhibits lipogenesis by suppressing proteolytic processing and activation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) and by interacting with SREBP-1c on chromatin. Our data reconcile previously conflicting studies and identify selective inhibition of mTORC1 as a potential approach to treat NASH and NAFLD. 10.1126/science.abf8271
    The establishment of public health policies and the burden of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the Americas. The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 20-25% of the general population and is associated with morbidity, increased mortality, and elevated health-care costs. Most NAFLD risk factors are modifiable and, therefore, potentially amenable to being reduced by public health policies. To date, there is no information about NAFLD-related public health policies in the Americas. In this study, we analysed data from 17 American countries and found that none have established national public health policies to decrease NAFLD-related burden. There is notable heterogeneity in the existence of public health policies to prevent NAFLD-related conditions. The most common public health policies were related to diabetes (15 [88%] countries), hypertension (14 [82%] countries), cardiovascular diseases (14 [82%] countries), obesity (nine [53%] countries), and dyslipidaemia (six [35%] of countries). Only seven (41%) countries had a registry of the burden of NAFLD, and efforts to raise awareness in the Americas were scarce. The implementation of public health policies are urgently needed in the Americas to decrease the burden of NAFLD. 10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00008-5
    Safety and efficacy of combination therapy with semaglutide, cilofexor and firsocostat in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: A randomised, open-label phase II trial. Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is associated with increased risk of liver-related and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Given the complex pathophysiology of NASH, combining therapies with complementary mechanisms may be beneficial. This trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, alone and in combination with the farnesoid X receptor agonist cilofexor and/or the acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase inhibitor firsocostat in patients with NASH. METHODS:This was a phase II, open-label, proof-of-concept trial in which patients with NASH (F2-F3 on biopsy, or MRI-proton density fat fraction [MRI-PDFF] ≥10% and liver stiffness by transient elastography ≥7 kPa) were randomised to 24 weeks' treatment with semaglutide 2.4 mg once weekly as monotherapy or combined with once-daily cilofexor (30 or 100 mg) and/or once-daily firsocostat 20 mg. The primary endpoint was safety. All efficacy endpoints were exploratory. RESULTS:A total of 108 patients were randomised to semaglutide (n = 21), semaglutide plus cilofexor 30 mg (n = 22), semaglutide plus cilofexor 100 mg (n = 22), semaglutide plus firsocostat (n = 22) or semaglutide, cilofexor 30 mg and firsocostat (n = 21). Treatments were well tolerated - the incidence of adverse events was similar across groups (73-90%) and most events were gastrointestinal in nature. Despite similar weight loss (7-10%), compared with semaglutide monotherapy, combinations resulted in greater improvements in liver steatosis measured by MRI-PDFF (least-squares mean of absolute changes: -9.8 to -11.0% vs. -8.0%), liver biochemistry, and non-invasive tests of fibrosis. CONCLUSIONS:In patients with mild-to-moderate fibrosis due to NASH, semaglutide with firsocostat and/or cilofexor was generally well tolerated. In exploratory efficacy analyses, treatment resulted in additional improvements in liver steatosis and biochemistry vs. semaglutide alone. Double-blind placebo-controlled trials with adequate patient numbers are warranted to assess the efficacy and safety of these combinations in NASH. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:NCT03987074. LAY SUMMARY:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its more severe form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), are serious liver conditions that worsen over time if untreated. The reasons people develop NASH are complex and combining therapies that target different aspects of the disease may be more helpful than using single treatments. This trial showed that the use of 3 different types of drugs, namely semaglutide, cilofexor and firsocostat, in combination was safe and may offer additional benefits over treatment with semaglutide alone. 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.04.003
    Relationship between NAFLD and coronary artery disease: A Mendelian randomization study. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:There is an ongoing debate on whether NAFLD is an active contributor or an innocent bystander in the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease (CAD). The aim of the present study was to assess the causal relationship between NAFLD and CAD. APPROACH AND RESULTS:We performed two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses using summary-level data to assess the association between genetically predicted NAFLD (i.e., chronically elevated serum alanine aminotransferase levels [cALT], imaging-based and biopsy-confirmed NAFLD) and risk of CAD. Analyses were repeated after exclusion of NAFLD susceptibility genes that are associated with impaired VLDL secretion. Inverse-variance weighted MR analyses showed a statistically significant association between genetically predicted cALT and risk of CAD (OR: 1.116, 95% CI: 1.039, 1.199), but not for the other NAFLD-related traits (OR: 1.046, 95% CI: 0.764, 1.433 and OR: 1.014, 95% CI: 0.968, 1.062 for imaging-based and biopsy-confirmed NAFLD, respectively). MR-Egger regression revealed a statistically significant intercept, indicative of directional pleiotropy, for all traits. Repeat analyses after exclusion of genes associated with impaired VLDL secretion showed consistent associations between genetically predicted NAFLD and CAD for all traits (i.e., cALT [OR: 1.203, 95% CI: 1.113, 1.300]), imaging-based (OR: 2.149, 95% CI: 1.276, 3.620) and biopsy-confirmed NAFLD (OR: 1.113, 95% CI: 1.041, 1.189), which persisted when more stringent biopsy-confirmed NAFLD criteria were used (OR: 1.154, 95% CI: 1.043, 1.278) or when more stringent MR methods were applied. MR-Egger regression did not show a statistically significant intercept. CONCLUSION:The two-sample MR analyses showed a robust association between genetically predicted NAFLD and CAD after exclusion of genetic variants that are implicated in impaired VLDL secretion. 10.1002/hep.32534
    Lack of VMP1 impairs hepatic lipoprotein secretion and promotes non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Journal of hepatology BACKGROUND & AIMS:Vacuole membrane protein 1 (VMP1) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) transmembrane protein that regulates the formation of autophagosomes and lipid droplets. Recent evidence suggests that VMP1 plays a critical role in lipoprotein secretion in zebra fish and cultured cells. However, the pathophysiological roles and mechanisms by which VMP1 regulates lipoprotein secretion and lipid accumulation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are unknown. METHODS:Liver-specific and hepatocyte-specific Vmp1 knockout mice as well as Vmp1 knock-in mice were generated by crossing Vmp1 or Vmp1 mice with albumin-Cre mice or by injecting AAV8-TBG-cre, respectively. Lipid and energy metabolism in these mice were characterized by metabolomic and transcriptome analyses. Mice with hepatic overexpression of VMP1 who were fed a NASH diet were also characterized. RESULTS:Hepatocyte-specific deletion of Vmp1 severely impaired VLDL secretion resulting in massive hepatic steatosis, hepatocyte death, inflammation and fibrosis, which are hallmarks of NASH. Mechanistically, loss of Vmp1 led to decreased hepatic levels of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine as well as to changes in phospholipid composition. Deletion of Vmp1 in mouse liver also led to the accumulation of neutral lipids in the ER bilayer and impaired mitochondrial beta-oxidation. Overexpression of VMP1 ameliorated steatosis in diet-induced NASH by improving VLDL secretion. Importantly, we also showed that decreased liver VMP1 is associated with NAFLD/NASH in humans. CONCLUSIONS:Our results provide novel insights on the role of VMP1 in regulating hepatic phospholipid synthesis and lipoprotein secretion in the pathogenesis of NAFLD/NASH. LAY SUMMARY:Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its more severe form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, are associated with a build-up of fat in the liver (steatosis). However, the exact mechanisms that underly steatosis in patients are not completely understood. Herein, the authors identified that the lack of a protein called VMP1 impairs the secretion and metabolism of fats in the liver and could therefore contribute to the development and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.04.010
    Effect of tirzepatide versus insulin degludec on liver fat content and abdominal adipose tissue in people with type 2 diabetes (SURPASS-3 MRI): a substudy of the randomised, open-label, parallel-group, phase 3 SURPASS-3 trial. The lancet. Diabetes & endocrinology BACKGROUND:Tirzepatide is a novel dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist under development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The aim of this substudy was to characterise the changes in liver fat content (LFC), volume of visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (ASAT) in response to tirzepatide or insulin degludec in a subpopulation of the SURPASS-3 study. METHODS:This substudy of the randomised, open-label, parallel-group, phase 3 SURPASS-3 trial was done at 45 medical research centres and hospitals across eight countries (Argentina, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Spain, and the USA). Eligible participants were adults with type 2 diabetes, a baseline HbA 7·0-10·5% (53-91 mmol/mol), a BMI of at least 25 kg/m, stable weight, were insulin-naive, and on treatment with metformin alone or in combination with a SGLT2 inhibitor for at least 3 months before screening. In addition to the main study inclusion criteria, substudy participants had a fatty liver index of at least 60. Participants had an MRI scan and were randomised (1:1:1:1) in the main study to subcutaneous injection once per week of tirzepatide 5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg, or subcutaneous injection once per day of titrated insulin degludec, using an interactive web-response system, and were stratified by country, HbA, and concomitant oral anti-hyperglycaemic medication. The primary efficacy endpoint was the change from baseline in LFC (as measured by MRI-proton density fat fraction [MRI-PDFF]) at week 52 using pooled data from the tirzepatide 10 mg and 15 mg groups versus insulin degludec. Analyses were assessed in the enrolled MRI population, which consisted of participants in the modified intention-to-treat population of the main study who also had a valid MRI at either baseline or after baseline. This is a substudy of the trial registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT03882970, and is complete. FINDINGS:From April 1, 2019, to Nov 15, 2019, 502 participants were assessed for eligibility to participate in this substudy, 296 (59%) of whom were included in the enrolled MRI population and randomly assigned to treatment (tirzepatide 5 mg, n=71; tirzepatide 10 mg, n=79; tirzepatide 15 mg, n=72; and insulin degludec, n=74). Baseline demographics and clinical characteristics were similar across all treatment groups. From an overall mean baseline LFC of 15·71% (SD 8·93), the absolute reduction in LFC at week 52 was significantly greater for the pooled tirzepatide 10 mg and 15 mg groups (-8·09%, SE 0·57) versus the insulin degludec group (-3·38%, 0·83). The estimated treatment difference versus insulin degludec was -4·71% (95% CI -6·72 to -2·70; p<0·0001). The reduction in LFC was significantly correlated (p≤0·0006) with baseline LFC (ρ=-0·71), reductions in VAT (ρ=0·29), reductions in ASAT (ρ=0·33), and reductions in body weight (ρ=0·34) in the tirzepatide groups. INTERPRETATION:Tirzepatide showed a significant reduction in LFC and VAT and ASAT volumes compared with insulin degludec in this subpopulation of patients with type 2 diabetes in the SURPASS-3 study. These data provide additional evidence on the metabolic effects of this novel dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist. FUNDING:Eli Lilly and Company. 10.1016/S2213-8587(22)00070-5
    Association between birth weight, preterm birth, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in a community-based cohort. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:The association between birth weight (BW) and metabolic outcomes has been described since the 1980s but NAFLD has been rarely studied. This study aimed to investigate the association between BW and NAFLD occurrence in adult subjects. APPROACH AND RESULTS:The study population consisted of participants from the French nationwide Constances cohort from 2012 to 2019. Participants with a history of chronic viral hepatitis or excessive alcohol consumption were excluded. Noninvasive diagnosis of NAFLD and fibrosis was performed using a combination of the Fatty Liver Index (FLI) and the Forns Index. The relationship between BW and NAFLD was analyzed with a sex-stratified logistic regression model adjusted for sociodemographic parameters, lifestyle, and birth term, whereas liver fibrosis was analyzed with a sex-stratified linear regression model. In total, 55,034 individuals with reliable BW were included (43% men, mean age: 38 years). NAFLD (FLI ≥ 60) was present in 5530 individuals (10%). Multivariate logistic regression showed a significant U-shaped relationship between BW and NAFLD, with no significant interaction with sex. A significant and slightly decreasing association was found between BW and Forns Index (β = -0.05; p = 0.04). Premature birth (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.03-1.48 for birth between 33 and 37 weeks versus ≥ 37 weeks) was associated with NAFLD, with a significant direct effect of premature birth, and without an indirect effect of low BW in mediation analysis. Forns Index was not significantly higher in participants with preterm birth compared to full-term birth. CONCLUSIONS:This large prospective adult-based cohort confirms the relationship between BW and NAFLD occurrence. 10.1002/hep.32540
    The steatosis-associated fibrosis estimator score: A tool to detect low-risk NAFLD in primary care. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND:NAFLD is common in primary care. Liver fibrosis stage 2 or higher (≥F2) increases future risk of morbidity and mortality. We developed and validated a score to aid in the initial assessment of liver fibrosis for NAFLD in primary care. METHODS:Data from patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD were extracted from the NASH Clinical Research Network observational study (n = 676). Using logistic regression and machine-learning methods, we constructed prediction models to distinguish ≥F2 from F0/1. The models were tested in participants in a trial ("FLINT," n = 280) and local patients with NAFLD with magnetic resonance elastography data (n = 130). The final model was applied to examinees in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (n = 11,953) to correlate with long-term mortality. RESULTS:A multivariable logistic regression model was selected as the Steatosis-Associated Fibrosis Estimator (SAFE) score, which consists of age, body mass index, diabetes, platelets, aspartate and alanine aminotransferases, and globulins (total serum protein minus albumin). The model yielded areas under receiver operating characteristic curves ≥0.80 in distinguishing F0/1 from ≥F2 in testing data sets, consistently higher than those of Fibrosis-4 and NAFLD Fibrosis Scores. The negative predictive values in ruling out ≥F2 at SAFE of 0 were 88% and 92% in the two testing sets. In the NHANES III set, survival up to 25 years of subjects with SAFE < 0 was comparable to that of those without steatosis (p = 0.34), whereas increasing SAFE scores correlated with shorter survival with an adjusted HR of 1.53 (p < 0.01) for subjects with SAFE > 100. CONCLUSION:The SAFE score, which uses widely available variables to estimate liver fibrosis in patients diagnosed with NAFLD, may be used in primary care to recognize low-risk NAFLD. 10.1002/hep.32545
    NAFLD-related hepatocellular carcinoma: The growing challenge. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cause of cancer-related mortality and morbidity worldwide. With the obesity pandemic, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) related HCC is contributing to the burden of disease exponentially. Genetic predisposition and clinical risk factors for NAFLD-related HCC have been identified. Cirrhosis is a well-known and major risk factor for NAFLD-related HCC. However, the occurrence of NAFLD-related HCC in patients without cirrhosis is increasingly recognized and poses a significant challenge regarding cancer surveillance. It is of paramount importance to develop optimal risk stratification scores and models to identify subsets of the population at high risk so they can be enrolled in surveillance programs. In this review, we will discuss the risks and prediction models for NAFLD-related HCC. 10.1002/hep.32542
    Quality standards for the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): consensus recommendations from the British Association for the Study of the Liver and British Society of Gastroenterology NAFLD Special Interest Group. The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is common, affecting approximately 25% of the general population. The evidence base for the investigation and management of NAFLD is large and growing, but there is currently little practical guidance to support development of services and delivery of care. To address this, we produced a series of evidence-based quality standard recommendations for the management of NAFLD, with the aim of improving patient care. A multidisciplinary group of experts from the British Association for the Study of the Liver and British Society of Gastroenterology NAFLD Special Interest Group produced the recommendations, which cover: management of people with, or at risk of, NAFLD before the gastroenterology or liver clinic; assessment and investigations in secondary care; and management in secondary care. The quality of evidence for each recommendation was evaluated by the Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation tool. An anonymous modified Delphi voting process was conducted individually by each member of the group to assess the level of agreement with each statement. Statements were included when agreement was 80% or greater. From the final list of statements, a smaller number of auditable key performance indicators were selected to allow services to benchmark their practice. It is hoped that services will review their practice against our recommendations and key performance indicators and institute service development where needed to improve the care of patients with NAFLD. 10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00061-9
    The transition from NAFLD to MAFLD: One size still does not fit all-Time for a tailored approach? Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) 10.1002/hep.32552
    NAFLD improves risk prediction of type 2 diabetes: with effect modification by sex and menopausal status. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND & AIMS:The effects of sex and menopausal status on the association between NAFLD and incident type 2 diabetes (T2D) remain unclear. We investigated the effect modification by sex and menopause in the association between NAFLD and T2D; also, added predictive ability of NAFLD for the risk of T2D was assessed. APPROACH & RESULTS:This cohort study comprised 245,054 adults without diabetes (109,810 premenopausal women; 4,958 postmenopausal women; 130,286 men). Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs; 95% confidence intervals [CIs]) for incident T2D according to NAFLD status. The incremental predictive role of NAFLD for incident T2D was assessed using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, net reclassification improvement, and integrated discrimination improvement. A total of 8,381 participants developed T2D (crude incidence rate/103 person-years: 2.9 premenopausal women; 12.2 postmenopausal women; 9.3 men) during median follow-up of 5.3 years. NAFLD was positively associated with incident T2D in all groups. After adjustment for potential confounders, the multivariable-adjusted HRs (95% CIs) for incident T2D comparing NAFLD to no NAFLD were 4.63 (4.17-5.14), 2.65 (2.02-3.48), and 2.16 (2.04-2.29) in premenopausal women, postmenopausal women and men, respectively. The risks of T2D increased with NAFLD severity as assessed by serum fibrosis markers, and the highest relative excess risks were observed in premenopausal women. The addition of NAFLD to conventional risk factors improved risk prediction for incident T2D in both sexes, with a greater improvement in women than men. CONCLUSIONS:NAFLD, including more severe NAFLD, is a stronger risk factor for incident T2D in premenopausal women than in post-menopausal women or men; protection against T2D is lost in pre-menopausal women with NAFLD. 10.1002/hep.32560
    Macrophage functional diversity in NAFLD - more than inflammation. Nature reviews. Endocrinology Macrophages have diverse phenotypes and functions due to differences in their origin, location and pathophysiological context. Although their main role in the liver has been described as immunoregulatory and detoxifying, changes in macrophage phenotypes, diversity, dynamics and function have been reported during obesity-related complications such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD encompasses multiple disease states from hepatic steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma. Obesity and insulin resistance are prominent risk factors for NASH, a disease with a high worldwide prevalence and no approved treatment. In this Review, we discuss the turnover and function of liver-resident macrophages (Kupffer cells) and monocyte-derived hepatic macrophages. We examine these populations in both steady state and during NAFLD, with an emphasis on NASH. The explosion in high-throughput gene expression analysis using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) within the last 5 years has revolutionized the study of macrophage heterogeneity, substantially increasing our understanding of the composition and diversity of tissue macrophages, including in the liver. Here, we highlight scRNA-seq findings from the last 5 years on the diversity of liver macrophages in homeostasis and metabolic disease, and reveal hepatic macrophage function beyond their classically described inflammatory role in the progression of NAFLD and NASH pathogenesis. 10.1038/s41574-022-00675-6
    Hepatic MDM2 Causes Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease by Blocking Triglyceride-VLDL Secretion via ApoB Degradation. Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany) Dysfunctional triglyceride-very low-density lipoprotein (TG-VLDL) metabolism is linked to metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD); however, the underlying cause remains unclear. The study shows that hepatic E3 ubiquitin ligase murine double minute 2 (MDM2) controls MAFLD by blocking TG-VLDL secretion. A remarkable upregulation of MDM2 is observed in the livers of human and mouse models with different levels of severity of MAFLD. Hepatocyte-specific deletion of MDM2 protects against high-fat high-cholesterol diet-induced hepatic steatosis and inflammation, accompanied by a significant elevation in TG-VLDL secretion. As an E3 ubiquitin ligase, MDM2 targets apolipoprotein B (ApoB) for proteasomal degradation through direct protein-protein interaction, which leads to reduced TG-VLDL secretion in hepatocytes. Pharmacological blockage of the MDM2-ApoB interaction alleviates dietary-induced hepatic steatohepatitis and fibrosis by inducing hepatic ApoB expression and subsequent TG-VLDL secretion. The effect of MDM2 on VLDL metabolism is p53-independent. Collectively, these findings suggest that MDM2 acts as a negative regulator of hepatic ApoB levels and TG-VLDL secretion in MAFLD. Inhibition of the MDM2-ApoB interaction may represent a potential therapeutic approach for MAFLD treatment. 10.1002/advs.202200742
    Community pathways for the early detection and risk stratification of chronic liver disease: a narrative systematic review. The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology Patients with chronic liver disease are often diagnosed during an index presentation to hospital with decompensated cirrhosis or liver-related events, and these presentations are associated with high mortality. However, there is often a long asymptomatic phase, in which there is an opportunity for earlier diagnosis and interventions to prevent progression to advanced disease. Therefore, strategies for early diagnosis and interventions (including behavioural changes and pharmacological treatments) that prevent patients progressing to cirrhosis and its associated complications probably have substantial benefits for patients and health-care services. Many community pathways have been generated. Some pathways focus on abnormal liver function tests as a starting point to diagnose liver disease. Other pathways target groups at greater risk of chronic liver disease-particularly people with harmful alcohol consumption, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. This systematic review summarises the existing strategies available for the early detection or risk stratification of liver disease, focusing primarily on alcohol-related liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Conducting randomised clinical trials that compare different strategies will be essential to elucidate which pathways are acceptable to patients, feasible, provide high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of liver disease, improve liver-related outcomes, and are most cost-effective at the population level. 10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00020-6
    A randomized controlled trial for response of microbiome network to exercise and diet intervention in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Nature communications Exercise and diet are treatments for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and prediabetes, however, how exercise and diet interventions impact gut microbiota in patients is incompletely understood. We previously reported a 8.6-month, four-arm (Aerobic exercise, n = 29; Diet, n = 28; Aerobic exercise + Diet, n = 29; No intervention, n = 29) randomized, singe blinded (for researchers), and controlled intervention in patients with NAFLD and prediabetes to assess the effect of interventions on the primary outcomes of liver fat content and glucose metabolism. Here we report the third primary outcome of the trial-gut microbiota composition-in participants who completed the trial (22 in Aerobic exercise, 22 in Diet, 23 in Aerobic exercise + Diet, 18 in No Intervention). We show that combined aerobic exercise and diet intervention are associated with diversified and stabilized keystone taxa, while exercise and diet interventions alone increase network connectivity and robustness between taxa. No adverse effects were observed with the interventions. In addition, in exploratory ad-hoc analyses we find that not all subjects responded to the intervention in a similar manner, when using differentially altered gut microbe amplicon sequence variants abundance to classify the responders and low/non-responders. A personalized gut microbial network at baseline could predict the individual responses in liver fat to exercise intervention. Our findings suggest an avenue for developing personalized intervention strategies for treatment of NAFLD based on host-gut microbiome ecosystem interactions, however, future studies with large sample size are needed to validate these discoveries. The Trial Registration Number is ISRCTN 42622771. 10.1038/s41467-022-29968-0
    Metabolic reprogramming of the intestinal microbiome with functional bile acid changes underlie the development of NAFLD. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Bile acids are hepatic metabolites and have many properties considered to be relevant to the pathophysiology of NAFLD. Circulating levels of the intestinal microbiome-modified bile acid deoxycholate are increased in cirrhosis. APPROACH AND RESULTS:To further elucidate the role of bile acids and intestinal microbiota linked to bile acids in progressively severe NAFLD, a multiomic study of feces including 16S rRNA sequencing, microbial transcriptomics and metabolomics was performed in a cohort with varying phenotypes of NAFLD. Several bile acids of microbial origin derived from deoxycholic acid (DCA) (glycodeoxycholate, 7-ketodeoxycholic acid, dehydrocholic acid) increased with disease activity and fibrosis stage. These were linked to increased expression of microbial bile salt hydrolase, bile acid operon (BaiCD) and hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (hdhA) required for DCA and downstream metabolite synthesis providing a mechanistic basis for altered bile acid profiles with disease progression. Bacteroidetes and several genera of Lachnospiraceae family containing DCA generating genes increased with increasing disease severity, whereas several potentially beneficial microbes sensitive to antibacterial effects of DCA e.g., Ruminococcaceae were decreased. The clinical relevance of these data was confirmed in an independent cohort enrolled in a clinical trial for NASH where at entry DCA and its conjugates were associated with advanced fibrosis. In patients treated with placebo, DCA declined in those with fibrosis regression and increased in those with fibrosis progression. DCA rose further in those with compensated cirrhosis when they experienced decompensation. CONCLUSIONS:These findings demonstrate a role for bile acids and the bile acid dependent microbiome in the development and progression of NAFLD and set the stage to leverage these findings for NASH biomarker development and for therapeutics. 10.1002/hep.32568
    Worldwide prevalence of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus among patients with cirrhosis at country, region, and global levels: a systematic review. The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology BACKGROUND:Empirical, updated country-level estimates on the proportion of cirrhosis attributable to viral hepatitis are required. We estimated the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients with cirrhosis at country, regional, and global levels as an approximation for the fractions of cirrhosis attributable to viral hepatitis. METHODS:In this systematic review, we searched MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and Scielo between Jan 1, 1993, and Aug 1, 2021. Studies were eligible if they reported on the prevalence of both HBV and HCV infection in representative studies of at least 20 patients with cirrhosis. Studies were excluded if they used first-generation HCV assays or were from a selected population of patients with cirrhosis (eg, patients selected based on specific causes, veterans, injecting drug users). Two authors (CJA and CdM) selected and extracted aggregated data from the selected publications. Data were extracted for study recruitment period, age, sex, and cause of cirrhosis, among others. Data about heavy alcohol consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) were also extracted when available. Aggregated data from studies from key publications were requested from the authors of the original study if selection of patients was unclear or information on causes was missing. We estimated the country-specific prevalence of causes of cirrhosis by pooling study-level data from the same country using a random-effects model. Subsequently, we estimated the regional (WHO region and UN subregion) and global prevalence by weighting the country-specific prevalence by the number of new liver cancer cases that occurred in 2020, as estimated in GLOBOCAN. The study was registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020149323. FINDINGS:Our database searches identified 21 338 records, and a further nine records were identified by scanning references of key publications. After excluding duplicates and assessing full-text articles for eligibility, 520 publications from 86 countries or territories (and reporting on 1 376 503 patients with cirrhosis) were included in the systematic review. The prevalence of HBV infection was lower among patients with cirrhosis in Europe, the Americas, and Oceania (UN subregional prevalence ranges 3-14%) than in Africa and Asia (8-61%). HCV infection prevalence was heterogenous, even within regions (12-83%). The combined prevalence of HBV and HCV infection exceeded 50% in most Asian and African regions. Globally, among patients with cirrhosis, 42% had HBV infection and 21% had HCV infection. The contribution of heavy alcohol use was highest in Europe (country range 16-78%), the Americas (17-52%), and Oceania (15-37%) and lowest in Asia (0-41%). Data on NAFLD were limited. INTERPRETATION:HBV and HCV could account for almost two thirds of the global burden of cirrhosis. With the availability of effective interventions for the prevention or treatment of HBV and HCV, the data presented in this study will help to effectively allocate resources towards viral hepatitis elimination and to design interventions at the country level. FUNDING:International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization. 10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00050-4
    Hepatocellular cystathionine γ lyase/hydrogen sulfide attenuates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by activating farnesoid X receptor. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Hydrogen sulfide (H S) plays a protective role in NAFLD. However, whether cystathionine γ lyase (CSE), a dominant H S generating enzyme in hepatocytes, has a role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD is currently unclear. APPROACH AND RESULTS:We showed that CSE protein expression is dramatically downregulated, especially in fibrotic areas, in livers from patients with NAFLD. In high-fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFLD mice or an oleic acid-induced hepatocyte model, the CSE/H S pathway is also downregulated. To illustrate a regulatory role for CSE in NAFLD, we generated a hepatocyte-specific CSE knockout mouse (CSE ). Feeding an HFD to CSE mice, they showed more hepatic lipid deposition with increased activity of the fatty acid de novo synthesis pathway, increased hepatic insulin resistance, and higher hepatic gluconeogenic ability compared to CSE control mice. By contrast, H S donor treatment attenuated these phenotypes. Furthermore, the protection conferred by H S was blocked by farnesoid X receptor (FXR) knockdown. Consistently, serum deoxycholic acid and lithocholic acid (FXR antagonists) were increased, and tauro-β-muricholic acid (FXR activation elevated) was reduced in CSE . CSE/H S promoted a post-translation modification (sulfhydration) of FXR at Cys138/141 sites, thereby enhancing its activity to modulate expression of target genes related to lipid and glucose metabolism, inflammation, and fibrosis. Sulfhydration proteomics in patients' livers supported the CSE/H S modulation noted in the CSE mice. CONCLUSIONS:FXR sulfhydration is a post-translational modification affected by hepatic endogenous CSE/H S that may promote FXR activity and attenuate NAFLD. Hepatic CSE deficiency promotes development of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The interaction between H S and FXR may be amenable to therapeutic drug treatment in NAFLD. 10.1002/hep.32577