Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), defined by excessive lipid accumulation in the liver, is the hepatic manifestation of insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. Due to the epidemics of obesity, NAFLD is rapidly becoming the leading cause of altered liver enzymes in Western countries. NAFLD encompasses a wide spectrum of liver disease ranging from simple uncomplicated steatosis, to steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Diet may affect the development of NAFLD either by increasing risk or by providing protective factors. Therefore, it is important to investigate the role of foods and/or food bioactives on the metabolic processes involved in steatohepatitis for preventive strategies. It has been reported that anthocyanins (ACNs) decrease hepatic lipid accumulation and may counteract oxidative stress and hepatic inflammation, but their impact on NAFLD has yet to be fully determined. ACNs are water-soluble bioactive compounds of the polyphenol class present in many vegetable products. Here, we summarize the evidence evaluating the mechanisms of action of ACNs on hepatic lipid metabolism in different experimental setting: in vitro, in vivo, and in human trials. Finally, a working model depicting the possible mechanisms underpinning the beneficial effects of ACNs in NAFLD is proposed, based on the available literature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology