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Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: emerging targeted therapies to optimize treatment options

Authors Milic S, Mikolasevic I, Krznaric-Zrnic I, Stanic M, Poropat G, Stimac D, Vlahovic-Palcevski V, Orlic L

Received 5 June 2015

Accepted for publication 22 July 2015

Published 20 August 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 4835—4845


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou

Sandra Milic,1 Ivana Mikolasevic,1,2 Irena Krznaric-Zrnic,1 Marija Stanic,3 Goran Poropat,1 Davor Stimac,1 Vera Vlahovic-Palcevski,4 Lidija Orlic2

1Department of Gastroenterology, UHC Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia; 2Department of Nephrology, Dialysis and Kidney Transplantation, UHC Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia; 3Department of Hematology, UHC Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia; 4Department for Clinical Pharmacology, University of Rijeka Medical School, UHC Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

Abstract: Diet and lifestyle changes have led to worldwide increases in the prevalences of obesity and metabolic syndrome, resulting in substantially greater incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is considered a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome and is related to diabetes, insulin resistance, central obesity, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an entity that describes liver inflammation due to NAFLD. Growing evidence suggests that NAFLD is a multisystem disease with a clinical burden that is not only confined to liver-related morbidity and mortality, but that also affects several extra-hepatic organs and regulatory pathways. Thus, NAFLD is considered an important public health issue, but there is currently no effective therapy for all NAFLD patients in the general population. Studies seeking optimal therapy for NAFLD and NASH have not yet led to development of a universal protocol for treating this growing problem. Several pharmacological agents have been studied in an effort to improve insulin resistance and the proinflammatory mediators that may be responsible for NASH progression. Cardiovascular risk factors are highly prevalent among NASH patients, and the backbone of treatment regimens for these patients still comprises general lifestyle interventions, including dietary changes and increased physical activity. Vitamin E and thiazolidinedione derivatives are currently the most evidence-based therapeutic options, but only limited clinical evidence is available regarding their long-term efficacy and safety. Vitamin D and renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system blockers are promising drugs that are currently being intensively investigated for use in NAFLD/NASH patients.

Keywords: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, therapy, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance

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