Stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD-1) is a delta-9 fatty acid desaturase that catalyzes the synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids.
Indeed, SCD-1 is the critical control point regulating hepatic lipogenesis and lipid oxidation. Due to its central role in lipid metabolism
in the liver, recent studies have focused on the involvement of SCD-1 in the development of fatty liver during obesity, diabetes mellitus,
hypertension, excessive alcohol consumption, and in subjects with high triglyceride blood concentrations. The accumulation of fat
in liver cells can be a sign that harmful conditions are developing, possibly associated with or leading to inflammation of the liver.
This review evaluates the recent advances in our understanding of the regulation of SCD-1 expression and its role in the development of
nonalcoholic and alcoholic hepatosteatosis. Animal models presenting a liver-specific loss or inhibition of SCD-1, as well as dietary interventions,
have highlighted the important role of the enzyme in the accumulation of fat (fatty infiltration) in hepatocytes during both alcoholic
and nonalcoholic liver diseases. The data summarized in this article support the notion that SCD-1 plays a direct role in the development
of fatty liver diseases, and is not simply a marker of an unfavorable diet or hepatic disorder. Accordingly, SCD-1 represents a
promising therapeutic target for the treatment of hepatic steatosis.