NAFLD in Some Common Endocrine Diseases: Prevalence, Pathophysiology, and Principles of Diagnosis and Management

Abstract

Secondary nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) defines those complex pathophysiological and clinical consequences that ensue when the liver becomes an ectopic site of lipid storage owing to reasons other than its mutual association with the metabolic syndrome. Disorders affecting gonadal hormones, thyroid hormones, or growth hormones (GH) may cause secondary forms of NAFLD, which exhibit specific pathophysiologic features and, in theory, the possibility to receive an effective treatment. Here, we critically discuss epidemiological and pathophysiological features, as well as principles of diagnosis and management of some common endocrine diseases, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, and GH deficiency. Collectively, these forms of NAFLD secondary to specific endocrine derangements may be envisaged as a naturally occurring disease model of NAFLD in humans. Improved understanding of such endocrine secondary forms of NAFLD promises to disclose novel clinical associations and innovative therapeutic approaches, which may potentially be applied also to selected cases of primary NAFLD

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