Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (Nafld). mitochondria as players and targets of therapies?

Agostino Di Ciaula, Salvatore Passarella, Harshitha Shanmugam, Marica Noviello, Leonilde Bonfrate, David Q.H. Wang, Piero Portincasa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease and represents the hepatic expression of several metabolic abnormalities of high epidemiologic relevance. Fat accumulation in the hepatocytes results in cellular fragility and risk of progression toward necroinflammation, i.e., nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, cirrhosis, and eventually hepatocellular carcinoma. Several pathways contribute to fat accumulation and damage in the liver and can also involve the mitochondria, whose functional integrity is essential to maintain liver bioenergetics. In NAFLD/NASH, both structural and functional mitochondrial abnormalities occur and can involve mitochondrial electron transport chain, decreased mitochondrial β-oxidation of free fatty acids, excessive generation of reactive oxygen species, and lipid peroxidation. NASH is a major target of therapy, but there is no established single or combined treatment so far. Notably, translational and clinical studies point to mitochondria as future therapeutic targets in NAFLD since the prevention of mitochondrial damage could improve liver bioenergetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5375
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2 2021


  • Lipotoxicity
  • Liver steatosis
  • Mitochondria
  • Nitrosative stress
  • Oxidative stress
  • Steatohepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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