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Dongiovanni P.,Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases | Valenti L.,University of Milan
Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental | Year: 2015

Epidemiological, familial, and twin studies indicate that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, now the leading cause of liver damage in developed countries, has a strong heritability. The common I148M variant of PNPLA3 impairing hepatocellular lipid droplets remodeling is the major genetic determinant of hepatic fat content. The I148M variant has a strong impact on the full spectrum of liver damage related to fatty liver, encompassing non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, advanced fibrosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, and influences the response to therapeutic approaches. Common variants in GCKR enhance de novo hepatic lipogenesis in response to glucose and liver inflammation. Furthermore, the low-frequency E167K variant of TM6SF2 and rare mutations in APOB, which impair very low-density lipoproteins secretion, predispose to progressive fatty liver. Conclusions: These and other recent findings reviewed here indicate that impaired lipid handling by hepatocytes has a major role in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by triggering inflammation, fibrogenesis, and carcinogenesis. These discoveries have provided potential novel biomarkers for clinical use and have revealed intriguing therapeutic targets. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Dongiovanni P.,Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases | Romeo S.,Gothenburg University | Romeo S.,University of Catanzaro | Valenti L.,Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases | Valenti L.,University of Milan
BioMed Research International | Year: 2015

Liver fat accumulation generally related to systemic insulin resistance characterizes nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which in the presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can progress towards cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Due to the epidemic of obesity, NAFLD is now the most frequent liver disease in Western countries. Epidemiological, familial, and twin studies provide evidence for a strong genetic component of NAFLD susceptibility. Recently, genome-wide association studies led to the identification of the major inherited determinants of hepatic fat accumulation: patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) I148M gene and transmembrane 6 superfamily member 2 (TM6SF2) E167K gene variants, involved in lipid droplets remodelling and very low-density lipoproteins secretion, are the major determinants of interindividual differences in liver steatosis, and susceptibility to progressive NASH. In this review, we aimed to provide an overview of recent insights into the genetics of hepatic fat accumulation and steatohepatitis. © 2015 Paola Dongiovanni et al.

Ruscica M.,University of Milan | Ferri N.,University of Padua | Macchi C.,University of Milan | Meroni M.,University of Milan | And 9 more authors.
Annals of Medicine | Year: 2016

Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) associates with cardiovascular disease independently of classic risk factors. Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is secreted by hepatocytes and inhibits the uptake of low-density lipoproteins by targeting the receptor for degradation, and possibly lipogenesis. PCSK9 loss-of-function mutations and anti-PCKS9 drugs reduce LDL-cholesterol. Aim: To evaluate whether hepatic fat content is associated with circulating PCSK9. Materials and methods: In 201 consecutive patients biopsied for suspected nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, liver damage was quantified by NAFLD activity score, circulating PCSK9 by ELISA, and hepatic mRNA by qRT-PCR in a subset (n = 76). Results: Circulating PCSK9 was associated with steatosis grade (p = 0.0011), necroinflammation (p < 0.001), ballooning (p = 0.005), and fibrosis stage (p = 0.001). At multivariate analysis, PCSK9 was associated with steatosis grade (p = 0.012), older age and lower BMI, independently of sex, hyperglycemia, and fibrosis/inflammation. Circulating PCSK9 was associated with hepatic expression of SREBP-1c (p = 0.0002) and FAS (p = 0.03). PCSK9 mRNA levels were also correlated with steatosis severity (p = 0.04) and hepatic APOB (p < 0.001), SREBP-1c (p = 0.047) and FAS expression (p = 0.001). Conclusions: Circulating PCSK9 increases with hepatic fat accumulation and correlates with the severity of steatosis, independently of metabolic confounders and liver damage. Modulation of PCSK9 synthesis and release might be involved in NAFLD pathogenesis. Key messagesCirculating PCSK9 levels increase with hepatic fat accumulation.Circulating PCSK9 levels are associated with increased de novo lipogenesis.Hepatic PCSK9 expression is associated with steatosis severity and activation of lipogenesis. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Milano M.,Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases | Aghemo A.,Gastroenterology and Hepatology | Mancina R.M.,Gothenburg University | Fischer J.,University of Leipzig | And 18 more authors.
Hepatology | Year: 2015

Steatosis and inherited host factors influence liver damage progression in chronic hepatitis C (CHC). The transmembrane 6 superfamily member 2 (TM6SF2) gene E167K variant increases liver fat and risk of progressive steatohepatitis by interfering with lipoprotein secretion. Our aim was to determine whether the E167K variant affects histological severity of steatosis, necroinflammation, and fibrosis in a cross-sectional cohort of 815 Italian therapy-naïve CHC patients. The association with clinically significant fibrosis was replicated in 645 Swiss/German patients. The TM6SF2 E167K variant was genotyped by TaqMan assays, steatosis graded according to the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease activity score, and necroinflammation and fibrosis graded and staged according to Ishak in Italian, and to Metavir in Swiss/German patients. The E167K variant was detected in 69 (9%) Italian patients and was associated with more severe steatosis, independently of confounders (P=0.038). The association between E167K and steatosis severity was present in patients not infected by genotype 3 (G3) HCV (P=0.031), but not in those infected by G3 HCV (P=0.58). Furthermore, the E167K variant was associated with more severe necroinflammation (Ishak grade; adjusted P=0.037) and nearly associated with more severe fibrosis (Ishak stage; adjusted P=0.058). At multivariate logistic regression analysis, the E167K variant was independently associated with histologically probable or definite cirrhosis (Ishak stage S6; odds ratio [OR]: 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18-3.93; P=0.010). After further conditioning for steatosis and necroinflammation, the E167K variant remained associated with cirrhosis (OR, 3.15; 95% CI: 1.60-5.99; P<0.001). In Swiss/German patients, the E167K variant was independently associated with clinically significant fibrosis Metavir stage F2-F4 (OR, 1.81; 95% CI: 1.12-3.02; P=0.016). Conclusion: TM6SF2 E167K variant impacts on steatosis severity and is associated with liver damage and fibrosis in patients with CHC. © 2015 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Dongiovanni P.,Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases | Lanti C.,University of Milan | Gatti S.,The Surgical Center | Rametta R.,University of Milan | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Increased serum ferritin associated with mild hepatic iron accumulation, despite preserved upregulation of the iron hormone hepcidin, is frequently observed in patients with dysmetabolic overload syndrome (DIOS). Genetic factors andWestern diet represent predisposing conditions, but the mechanisms favoring iron accumulation in DIOS are still unclear. Aims of this study were to assess the effect a high-fat diet (HFD) on hepatic iron metabolismin an experimentalmodel in rats, to further characterize the effect of free fatty acids on iron metabolismin HepG2 hepatocytes in vitro, and to assess the translational relevance in patients with fatty liver with and without iron accumulation. Despite decreased uptake of dietary iron, rats fed HFD accumulated more hepatic iron than those fed regular diet, which was associated with steatosis development. Hepatic iron accumulation was paralleled by induction of ferritin, in the presence of preserved upregulation of hepcidin, recapitulating the features of DIOS. HFD was associated with increased expression of the major iron uptake protein Transferrin receptor-1 (TfR-1), consistently with upregulation of the intracellular iron sensor Iron regulated protein-1 (IRP1). Supplementation with fatty acids induced TfR-1 and IRP1 in HepG2 hepatocytes, favoring intracellular iron accumulation following exposure to iron salts. IRP1 silencing completely abrogated TfR-1 induction and the facilitation of intracellular iron accumulation induced by fatty acids. Hepatic TfR-1 mRNA levels were upregulated in patients with fatty liver and DIOS, whereas they were not associated with liver fat nor with inflammation. In conclusion, increased exposure to fatty acids subverts hepatic iron metabolism, favoring the induction of an iron uptake program despite hepatocellular iron accumulation. Copyright: © 2015 Dongiovanni et al.

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