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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00563

Targeting myeloid-derived cells: new frontiers in the treatment of non-alcoholic and alcoholic liver disease

  • 1Antwerp University Hospital, Belgium
  • 2University of Antwerp, Belgium

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) are major causes of liver-related morbidity and mortality and constitute important cause of liver transplantation. The spectrum of the liver-disease is wide and includes isolated steatosis, steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. The treatment of NAFLD and ALD remains, however, an unmet need, and therefore it is a public health priority to develop effective treatments for these diseases.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease share common complex pathogenetic pathways that involve different organs and systems beyond the liver, including the gut, the adipose tissue and the immune system, which cross-talk to generate damage. Myeloid-derived cells have been widely studied in the setting of NAFLD and ALD and are implicated at different levels in the onset and progression of this disease.
Among these cells, monocytes and macrophages have been found to be involved in the induction of inflammation and in the progression to fibrosis, both in animal models and clinical studies and they have become interesting potential targets for the treatment of both NAFLD and ALD. The different mechanisms by which these cells can be targeted include modulation of Kupffer cell activation, monocyte recruitment in the liver and macrophage polarization and differentiation. Evidence from preclinical studies and clinical trials (some of them already in phase II and III) have shown encouraging results in ameliorating steatohepatitis, fibrosis and the metabolic profile, individuating promising candidates for the pharmacological treatment of these diseases.
The current available results of myeloid-derived cells targeted treatments in NAFLD and ALD are covered in this review.

Keywords: myeloid-derived cells, NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease), ALD (alcoholic Liver Disease), Treatment, liver immunology

Received: 31 Aug 2018; Accepted: 04 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Rajiv Jalan, University College London, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Dan A. Mitchell, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Raymond B. Birge, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Vonghia, Van Herck, Weyler and Francque. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Luisa Vonghia, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium, luisa.vonghia@uza.be