Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in children now: lifestyle changes and pharmacologic treatments.
ABSTRACT Over the past decade, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become one of most common chronic liver diseases in children. A greater understanding about the risk factors and molecular pathogenesis of NAFLD suggests that lifestyle interventions aiming to decrease obesity/body mass index and metabolic derangement are the first line of treatments adopted in children affected by this disease. However, because these therapeutic options are often at the beginning misjudged by the patients and their parents, the use of pharmacologic agents may help to protect the liver and other organs from further irreversible tissue damage. Pharmacologic therapies against one or more specific factors and/or molecules involved in the development of NAFLD (i.e., insulin resistance, free fatty acid lipid toxicity, and oxidative stress) also might slow the progression of this increasingly prevalent pediatric disorder. On this basis, insulin sensitizers, antioxidants, cytoprotective agents, and dietary supplementations have been evaluated in pediatric clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the efficacy of the dietary approaches, possibly coupled with regular exercise, on decreasing the metabolic and histologic damage in pediatric NAFLD. We also emphasize several advantages of the pharmacologic treatments adopted or adoptable in combination with lifestyle interventions in children with NAFLD.
- SourceAvailable from: Valentina Giorgio[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of chronic liver disease in children. NAFLD has emerged to be extremely prevalent, and predicted by obesity and male gender. It is defined by hepatic fat infiltration >5% hepatocytes, in the absence of other causes of liver pathology. It includes a spectrum of disease ranging from intrahepatic fat accumulation (steatosis) to various degrees of necrotic inflammation and fibrosis (non-alcoholic steatohepatatis [NASH]). NAFLD is associated, in children as in adults, with severe metabolic impairments, determining an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome. It can evolve to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, with the consequent need for liver transplantation. Both genetic and environmental factors seem to be involved in the development and progression of the disease, but its physiopathology is not yet entirely clear. In view of this mounting epidemic phenomenon involving the youth, the study of NAFLD should be a priority for all health care systems. This review provides an overview of current and new clinical-histological concepts of pediatric NAFLD, going through possible implications into patho-physiolocical and therapeutic perspectives.BMC Pediatrics 03/2013; 13(1):40. · 1.98 Impact Factor