Purpose of review: To summarize currently available information about the mechanisms involved in liver fat accumulation.
Recent findings: The contribution of functional genomics approaches, such as those represented by high-throughput analysis and genetically modified mice, may envision a complex network involving fatty acid, triglyceride and phospholipid metabolisms and lipid droplet dynamics. Likewise, it may pose an exquisite regulation exerted through insulin, glucocorticoids, thyroid hormones, transcription factors and microRNAs, orchestrated with sexual differences and able to respond to environmental factors such as nutritional or viral influences among others.
Summary: The information gathered will facilitate further research to complete gaps of interacting pieces among regulators and new contributing agents emerging from high-throughput analyses. With this new paradigm, new biomarkers able to discriminate the progression of hepatic steatosis into human steatohepatitis will eventually emerge, and hopefully new therapeutic approaches will be developed.
a Departamento de Farmacología y Fisiología, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud y del Deporte, Spain
b Departamento de Patología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Spain
c Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular y Celular, Facultad de Veterinaria, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Aragón, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
d CIBER de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
Correspondence to Dr Jesús Osada, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Veterinary School, University of Zaragoza, Miguel Servet 177, E-50013 Zaragoza, Spain Tel: +34 976 761 644; fax: +34 976 761 612; e-mail: Josada@unizar.es