Malnutrition mechanisms in liver cirrhosis. Oxidative metabolism and energy balance

C. Panella, F. W. Guglielmi, T. Mastronuzzi, A. Francavilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liver cirrhosis is characterised by extreme clinical polymorphism with a natural evolution towards hepato-cellular carcinoma (HCC). This disease is very frequently associated with a clear state of malnutrition. A thorough re-examination of the literature aimed at explaining the mechanisms of malnutrition shows that existing data are rather contradictory and difficult to insert into the framework of the standard concept of energy balance understood as a balance between calories introduced, energy stored as muscular mass, reserve adipose tissue and total daily caloric requirements. In non-alcoholic cirrhosis, even when it is associated with hepatocarcinoma or malnutrition, the patient in fact retains normal nutritional habits, presents no significant alterations in intestinal absorption and seems in most cases to maintain a normal basal caloric requirement. However, studies carried out in recent years have demonstrated specific alterations: reduction of the respiratory quotient (RQ) - which is certainly a basis for understanding the complex nutritional alteration of the cirrhotic patient suffering from malnutrition - and a lower consumption of oxygen during physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalGastroenterology International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Basal caloric requirement
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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