Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease worldwide, directly related to the progressive increase in body weight and obesity. The accumulation of lipids in patients with NAFLD contributes to the development of insulin resistance, inflammatory response and oxidative stress in hepatocytes and alteration of the circulating lipid and glycaemic profile. However, to date, there are no effective pharmacological treatments for patients with NAFLD. Lifestyle changes and dietary modifications aimed at weight loss are the best current alternatives; therefore, new approaches should be considered. Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol of the stilbene group, is a potential candidate for the management of NAFLD for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties, and calorie restriction-like effects.
Methods: In this review, the available information on the potential therapeutic effects of resveratrol on NAFLD, found mainly in animal models and in some clinical trials, is summarizes.
Results: In vitro and animal model studies have shown beneficial effects of resveratrol treatment on NAFLD. Resveratrol reduces the hepatic accumulation of lipids and improves lipid and glycaemic metabolism. Some of the mechanisms of action are the signalling pathways of AMP-activated protein kinase, sirtuin 1 and nuclear factor κB. However, the results obtained in clinical trials are inconclusive.
Conclusion: Although preclinical trials have shown promising results of resveratrol against NALFD, the lack of clear results in clinical trials makes it necessary to conduct more studies with a larger number of patients and for a longer time.
Keywords: Inflammation, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, polyphenols, resveratrol, sirtuin 1, steatosis.