Family of patients with NAFLD and cirrhosis are at increased risk of liver fibrosis

June 19, 2017

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common disorder characterized by abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver. NAFLD is diagnosed in up to one in three adults and one in 10 children in the United States, and obesity is the greatest known risk factor. While NAFLD itself does not damage the liver, inflammatory responses to fat deposits can lead to liver scarring and cirrhosis. NAFLD patients that develop cirrhosis have a substantially worse prognosis, with an elevated risk of mortality due to liver disease.

Family members of individuals with NAFLD are at a higher risk for developing NAFLD themselves, but whether this is accompanied by a predisposition toward is not known. A clinical trial led by Rohit Loomba at UCSD assessed whether the immediate relatives of individuals with NAFLD and cirrhosis are at higher risk of developing advanced fibrosis.

In a a report published this week in the JCI, the researchers used an MRI-based imaging technique to quantify liver scarring (or fibrosis) in the siblings, parents, and offspring of patients with NAFLD and cirrhosis. They determined that the relatives of individuals with NAFLD and cirrhosis exhibited 12 times higher prevalence of than healthy controls, even when the researchers adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, , and diabetes status.

These findings indicate that the immediate family members of individuals diagnosed with NAFLD and may benefit from screenings for liver fibrosis.

Explore further: Many diabetics don't know they have serious liver disease

More information: Cyrielle Caussy et al, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease with cirrhosis increases familial risk for advanced fibrosis, Journal of Clinical Investigation (2017). DOI: 10.1172/JCI93465

Related Stories

Many diabetics don't know they have serious liver disease

September 21, 2015

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the Western world. NAFLD is a frequent finding in patients with type 2 diabetes, but the exact prevalence of NAFLD, as well as whether patients ...

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.