Metabolic dysfunction‐associated fatty liver disease (Mafld)—a condition associated with heightened sympathetic activation

Revathy Carnagarin, Kearney Tan, Leon Adams, Vance B. Matthews, Marcio G. Kiuchi, Leslie Marisol Lugo Gavidia, Gavin W. Lambert, Elisabeth A. Lambert, Lakshini Y. Herat, Markus P. Schlaich

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolic dysfunction‐associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is the most common liver disease affecting a quarter of the global population and is often associated with adverse health outcomes. The increasing prevalence of MAFLD occurs in parallel to that of metabolic syndrome (MetS), which in fact plays a major role in driving the perturbations of cardiometabolic homeostasis. However, the mechanisms underpinning the pathogenesis of MAFLD are incompletely understood. Compelling evidence from animal and human studies suggest that heightened activation of the sympathetic nervous system is a key contributor to the development of MAFLD. Indeed, common treatment strategies for metabolic diseases such as diet and exercise to induce weight loss have been shown to exert their beneficial effects at least in part through the associated sympathetic inhibition. Furthermore, pharmacological and device‐based approaches to reduce sympathetic activation have been demonstrated to improve the metabolic alterations frequently present in patients with obesity, MetSand diabetes. Currently available evidence, while still limited, suggests that sympathetic activation is of specific relevance in the pathogenesis of MAFLD and consequentially may offer an attractive therapeutic target to attenuate the adverse outcomes associated with MAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4241
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021


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