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      Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

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          Abstract

          With the increase in the prevalence of obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become among the leading causes of chronic liver disease in the pediatric age group. Once believed to be a “two-hit process”, it is now clear that the actual pathophysiology of NAFLD is complex and involves multiple pathways. Moreover, NAFLD is not always benign, and patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are at increased risk of developing advanced stages of liver disease. It has also been shown that NAFLD is not only a liver disease, but is also associated with multiple extrahepatic manifestations, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and low bone mineral density. Although the data is scarce in the pediatric population, some studies have suggested that long-term mortality and the requirement of liver transplantation will continue to increase in patients with NAFLD. More studies are needed to better understand the natural history of NAFLD, especially in the pediatric age group.

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          Most cited references 51

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          Genetic variation in PNPLA3 confers susceptibility to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

          Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a burgeoning health problem of unknown etiology that varies in prevalence among ethnic groups. To identify genetic variants contributing to differences in hepatic fat content, we performed a genome-wide association scan of nonsynonymous sequence variations (n=9,229) in a multiethnic population. An allele in PNPLA3 (rs738409; I148M) was strongly associated with increased hepatic fat levels (P=5.9×10−10) and with hepatic inflammation (P=3.7×10−4). The allele was most common in Hispanics, the group most susceptible to NAFLD; hepatic fat content was > 2-fold higher in PNPLA3-148M homozygotes than in noncarriers. Resequencing revealed another allele associated with lower hepatic fat content in African-Americans, the group at lowest risk of NAFLD. Thus, variation in PNPLA3 contributes to ethnic and inter-individual differences in hepatic fat content and susceptibility to NAFLD.
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            Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: Mayo Clinic experiences with a hitherto unnamed disease.

            Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is a poorly understood and hitherto unnamed liver disease that histologically mimics alcoholic hepatitis and that also may progress to cirrhosis. Described here are findings in 20 patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis of unknown cause. The biopsy specimens were characterized by the presence of striking fatty changes with evidence of lobular hepatitis, focal necroses with mixed inflammatory infiltrates, and, in most instances, Mallory bodies; Evidence of fibrosis was found in most specimens, and cirrhosis was diagnosed in biopsy tissue from three patients. The disease was more common in women. Most patients were moderately obese, and many had obesity-associated diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and cholelithiasis. Presence of hepatomegaly and mild abnormalities of liver function were common clinical findings. Currently, we know of no effective therapy.
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              Obesity, insulin resistance and free fatty acids.

              To describe the role of free fatty acid (FFA) as a cause for insulin resistance in obese people. Elevated plasma FFA levels can account for a large part of insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is clinically important because it is closely associated with several diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and abnormalities in blood coagulation and fibrinolysis. These disorders are all independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes and peripheral arterial disease). The mechanisms by which FFA can cause insulin resistance, although not completely known, include generation of lipid metabolites (diacylglycerol), proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, MCP1) and cellular stress including oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress. Increased plasma FFA levels are an important cause of obesity-associated insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. Therapeutic application of this knowledge is hampered by the lack of readily accessible methods to measure FFA and by the lack of medications to lower plasma FFA levels.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Children (Basel)
                Children (Basel)
                children
                Children
                MDPI
                2227-9067
                09 June 2017
                June 2017
                : 4
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Betty and Guy Beatty Center for Integrated Research, Inova Health System, Falls Church, VA 22042, USA; hbush2@ 123456jhu.edu (H.B.); Pegah.Golabi@ 123456inova.org (P.G.)
                [2 ]Center For Liver Disease, Department of Medicine, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA 22042, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Zobair.Younossi@ 123456inova.org ; Tel.: +1-703-776-2540; Fax: +1-703-776-4386
                Article
                children-04-00048
                10.3390/children4060048
                5483623
                28598410
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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