Hepatic sexual dimorphism - implications for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Published on Aug 20, 2021in Nature Reviews Endocrinology28.8
· DOI :10.1038/S41574-021-00538-6
Philippe Lefebvre50
Estimated H-index: 50
(Pasteur Institute),
Bart Staels174
Estimated H-index: 174
(Pasteur Institute)
The liver is often thought of as a single functional unit, but both its structural and functional architecture make it highly multivalent and adaptable. In any given physiological situation, the liver can maintain metabolic homeostasis, conduct appropriate inflammatory responses, carry out endobiotic and xenobiotic transformation and synthesis reactions, as well as store and release multiple bioactive molecules. Moreover, the liver is a very resilient organ. This resilience means that chronic liver diseases can go unnoticed for decades, yet culminate in life-threatening clinical complications once the adaptive capacity of the liver is overwhelmed. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) predisposes individuals to cirrhosis and increases liver-related and cardiovascular disease-related mortality. This Review discusses the accumulating evidence of sexual dimorphism in NAFLD, which is currently rarely considered in preclinical and clinical studies. Increased awareness of the mechanistic causes of hepatic sexual dimorphism could lead to improved understanding of the biological processes that are dysregulated in NAFLD, to the identification of relevant therapeutic targets and to improved risk stratification of patients with NAFLD undergoing therapeutic intervention.
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