Intrahepatic triglyceride content: influence of metabolic and genetics drivers.
Dearlove DJ., Hodson L.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) content is determined by substrate flux to, fatty acid synthesis and partitioning within, and triglyceride disposal from the liver. Dysregulation of these processes may cause IHTG accumulation, potentially leading to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The aetiology of IHTG accumulation has not been fully elucidated; however, environmental factors and heritability are important. Here, we review recent evidence regarding the contribution of metabolic and genetic components of IHTG accumulation. RECENT FINDINGS: Obesity and insulin resistance are the primary metabolic drivers for IHTG accumulation. These risk factors have pronounced and seemingly overlapping effects on all processes involved in determining IHTG content. The strong and interchangeable associations between obesity, insulin resistance and IHTG make it challenging to determine their relative contributions. Genome-wide association studies have identified a growing list of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with IHTG content and recent work has begun to elucidate their mechanistic effects. The mechanisms underlying metabolic and genetic drivers of IHTG appear to be distinct. SUMMARY: Both metabolic and genetic factors influence IHTG content by apparently distinct mechanisms. Further work is needed to determine metabolic and genetic interaction effects, which may lead to more personalized and potentially efficacious therapeutic interventions. The development of a comprehensive polygenic risk score for IHTG content may help facilitate this.