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The role of hepatic macrophages in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is becoming common chronic liver disease because of the increasing global prevalence of obesity and consequently Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the mechanism for progression of NAFLD to NASH and then cirrhosis is not completely understood, yet. The triggering of these hepatic diseases is thought from hepatocyte injury caused by over-accumulated lipid toxicity. Injured hepatocytes release damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), which can stimulate the Kupffer cells (KCs), liver-resident macrophages, to release pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and recruit monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). The increased activation of KCs and recruitment of MDMs accelerate the progression of NAFLD to NASH and cirrhosis. Therefore, characterization for activation of hepatic macrophages, both KCs and MDMs, is a baseline to figure out the progression of hepatic diseases. The purpose of this review is to discuss the current understanding of mechanisms of NAFLD and NASH, mainly focusing on characterization and function of hepatic macrophages and suggests the regulators of hepatic macrophages as the therapeutic target in hepatic diseases.


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Correspondence to Kyung-Hee Chun.

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Cha, J., Kim, D. & Chun, K. The role of hepatic macrophages in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Lab Anim Res 34, 133–139 (2018).

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  • Macrophage
  • Kupffer cell
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • nonalcoholic steatohepatitis