Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome, whose pathogenesis begins with the accumulation of liver fat and is followed by the development of necro-inflammation and fibrosis. Recent evidence indicates that adipocytokines, polypeptides secreted by the adispose tissue, might play an important role in the pathogeneic process and progression of NAFLD. In this review, we explore the role of leptin, and in part of other adipocytokines, in the interference with hepatic injury associated with fatty infiltration, in the modulation of steatosis and fibrosis, in both experimental models of the disease and in the clinical practice. We also discuss the potential use of leptin as non-invasive marker for differentiating simple fatty liver from NAFLD, and the possible novel therapeutic strategies aimed at interfering with the leptin axis to dampen chronic liver inflammation and NAFLD.
Keywords: NAFLD, liver, adipocytokines, leptin, autoimmunity
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