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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

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* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • NASH
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
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Cause


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What causes nonalcoholic steatohepatitis?

The underlying cause of NASH remains unclear. It most often occurs in persons who are middle-aged and overweight or obese. Many patients with NASH have elevated blood lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, and many have diabetes or prediabetes. However, not every obese person or every patient with diabetes has NASH. Furthermore, some patients with NASH are not obese, do not have diabetes, and have normal blood cholesterol and lipids. NASH can occur without any apparent risk factor and can even occur in children.[1]

While the underlying reason for the liver injury that causes NASH is not known, several factors are possible candidates:[1]

  • insulin resistance
  • release of toxic inflammatory proteins by fat cells (cytokines)
  • oxidative stress (deterioration of cells) inside liver cells 
Last updated: 2/24/2012

References
  1. Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). 2006; http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/nash/.