Fatty liver disease constitutes a spectrum of liver diseases which begin with simple steatosis and may progress to advance stages of steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The two main etiologies are alcohol related fatty liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is a global health epidemic strongly associated with modern dietary habits and life-style. It is the second most common cause of chronic liver disease in the US after chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Approximately 100 million people are affected with this condition in the US alone. Excessive intakes of calories, saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, and sedentary life style have led to explosion of this health epidemic in developing nations as well. ALD is the third most common cause of chronic liver disease in the US. Even though the predominant trigger for onset of steatosis is different in these two conditions, they share common themes in progression from steatosis to the advance stages. Oxidative stress (OS) is considered a very significant contributor to hepatocyte injury in these conditions. Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to this OS. Role of mitochondrial dysfunction in pathogenesis of fatty liver diseases is emerging but far from completely understood. A better understanding is essential for more effective preventive and therapeutic interventions. Here, we discuss the pathogenesis and therapeutic approaches of NAFLD and ALD from a mitochondrial perspective.
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