New concepts in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease

Emanuele Albano
Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2008, 2 (6): 749-59
Alcoholic liver disease still represents an important cause for death and disability in most well-developed countries and is becoming a leading cause of disease in developing countries. It is now increasingly clear that, besides the formation of acetaldehyde, alcohol effects on the liver include oxidative stress, disturbances in methionine metabolism, endoplasmic reticulum stress, inflammatory/immune responses and adipokine imbalances. This article will discuss the most recent findings on the mechanisms by which alcohol abuse causes hepatic steatosis and steatohepatitis, and now it contributes to the progression of fibrosis. Although still incomplete, these data shed new light on the multifactorial pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease and open new possibilities in the understanding of how gender and genetic factors can influence disease progression.

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