Statins and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in the era of precision medicine: More friends than foes

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Abstract

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) describes a spectrum of alcohol-like hepatic histological changes, which occur in the absence of any competing causes of chronic liver disease, notably including significant alcohol consumption. A close and bi-directional relationship links NAFLD with the metabolic syndrome (MetS), and concurrent MetS will hasten the progression to more severe forms of NAFLD, including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Patients with NAFLD will typically exhibit atherogenic dyslipidemia and increased cardiovascular risk (CVR). Statins are among the most widely prescribed lipid-lowering drugs. Their use has historically been hampered, in individuals with liver disease, owing to the fear of hepatotoxicity. However, studies suggest that statins are not only effective in reducing cardiovascular events, but may also exert multiple beneficial effects on the liver. CVR in those with NAFLD has extensively been covered by our group and others. This updated clinical narrative review will critically examine the effects of statins on the pathogenesis of NAFLD, including the key elementary pathological lesions of NAFLD, i.e. steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis, and its liver-related complications, i.e. cirrhosis, portal hypertension and HCC.

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Nascimbeni, F., Pellegrini, E., Lugari, S., Mondelli, A., Bursi, S., Onfiani, G., … Lonardo, A. (2019, May 1). Statins and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in the era of precision medicine: More friends than foes. Atherosclerosis. Elsevier Ireland Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2019.02.028

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