Murine models provide insight to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

D T Reid, B Eksteen
Nutrition Research Reviews 2015 October 23, : 1-10
Associated with the obesity epidemic, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the leading liver disease in North America. Approximately 30 % of patients with NAFLD may develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) that can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Frequently animal models are used to help identify underlying factors contributing to NAFLD including insulin resistance, dysregulated lipid metabolism and mitochondrial stress. However, studying the inflammatory, progressive nature of NASH in the context of obesity has proven to be a challenge in mice. Although the development of effective treatment strategies for NAFLD and NASH is gaining momentum, the field is hindered by a lack of a concise animal model that reflects the development of liver disease during obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Therefore, selecting an animal model to study NAFLD or NASH must be done carefully to ensure the optimal application. The most widely used animal models have been reviewed highlighting their advantages and disadvantages to studying NAFLD and NASH specifically in the context of obesity.

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