Does adipose tissue inflammation drive the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in obesity?

Adryana Cordeiro*, Raquel Costa, Nelson Andrade, Cláudia Silva, Natalia Canabrava, Maria João Pena, Ilda Rodrigues, Sara Andrade, Andrea Ramalho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity, an increasingly common problem in modern societies, is associated with acquired metabolic disturbances. In this perspective, the development of insulin resistance is now recognized to be initiated by inflammation of the adipose tissue, but the events that lead to this inflammation are still vague. Furthermore, visceral adipose tissue plays a significant role in obesity pathophysiology and in its clinical effects, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Among the possible mechanisms linking NAFLD and obesity, we focused on Visfatin/NAMPT, mostly produced by macrophages infiltrated in adipose tissue and a biomarker of the inflammatory cascade affecting hepatic inflammation in NAFLD. We also addressed the signalling pathway triggered by the binding of VEGF-B to its receptor, which mediates lipid fluxes throughout the body, being a promising target to prevent ectopic lipid accumulation. We reviewed the available literature on the topic and we suggest a crosstalk between adipose tissue inflammation and NAFLD in order to provide new insights about the putative mechanisms involved in the development of NAFLD in the obesity context. A better understanding of the pathophysiological processes underlying NAFLD will allow the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-402
Number of pages9
JournalClinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue inflammation
  • Molecular targets
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Obesity


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