Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease diagnoses and cardiovascular diseases: From epidemiology to drug approaches

Paola Dongiovanni, Erika Paolini, Alberto Corsini, Cesare R. Sirtori, Massimiliano Ruscica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A consensus of experts has proposed to replace the term nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), whose global prevalence is 25%, with metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), to describe more appropriately the liver disease related to metabolic derangements. MAFLD is closely intertwined with type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidaemia, all linked to a rise in the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVDs). Since controversy still stands on whether or not NAFLD/MAFLD raises the odds of CVD, the present review aims to evaluate the impact of NAFLD/MAFLD aetiologies on CV health and the potential correction by dietary and drug approaches. Results: Epidemiological studies indicate that NAFLD raises risk of fatal or non-fatal CVD events. NAFLD patients have a higher prevalence of arterial plaques and stiffness, coronary calcification, and endothelial dysfunction. Although genetic and environmental factors strongly contribute to NAFLD pathogenesis, a Mendelian randomization analysis indicated that the PNPLA3 genetic variant leading to NAFLD may not be causally associated with CVD risk. Among other genetic variants related to NAFLD, TM6SF2 appears to be protective, whereas MBOAT7 may favour venous thromboembolism. Conclusions: NAFLD is correlated to a higher CVD risk which may be ameliorated by dietary interventions. This is not surprising, since new criteria defining MAFLD include other metabolic risk abnormalities fuelling development of serious adverse extrahepatic outcomes, for example CVD. The present lack of a targeted pharmacological approach makes the identification of patients with liver disease at higher CVD risk (eg diabetes, hypertension, obesity or high levels of C-reactive protein) of major clinical interest.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13519
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • cardiovascular risk
  • MAFLD
  • MBOAT7
  • NAFLD
  • PCSK7
  • PCSK9
  • PNPLA3
  • TM6F2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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