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Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01413

Genetics of non-alcoholic fatty liver and cardiovascular disease: Implications for therapy?

  • 1Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. The most common cause of mortality in NAFLD is cardiovascular disease (CVD), and a key of focus in drug development is to discover therapies that target both liver injury and CVD risk. NAFLD and CVD are complex disease spectra with complex heritability patterns. Nevertheless, genome wide association studies and meta-analyses of these have identified genetic loci that are associated with increased risk of relevant pathological features of disease or clinical endpoints. This review focuses on the genetic risk loci identified in the NAFLD spectrum and asks whether any of these are also risk factors for CVD. Surprisingly, given the shared co-morbidities and risk factors, little robust evidence exists that NAFLD and CVD share genetic risk. Despite this, therapeutic intervention that targets both liver disease and CVD remains an important clinical need and a major focus for pharmaceutical development.

Keywords: NAFLD, NASH, GWAS, CVD (cardio vascular disease), Therapeuctics

Received: 03 Jul 2019; Accepted: 07 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Chandrasekharan and Alazawi. 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: Dr. William Alazawi, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom, w.alazawi@qmul.ac.uk