Thomas Jefferson University Research Magazine



Non-alcoholic liver disease, also known as Fatty Liver Disease, is the most common liver disorder in western nations. Up to 30 percent of Americans have some level of the disease, and it will soon be the country’s leading cause for liver transplant. As its name suggests, Fatty Liver Disease begins simply with storage of excess fat in the liver, but can progress into serious liver inflammation and to the extensive scarring of liver tissue known as cirrhosis.

Currently, biomedical researchers have a limited understanding of what causes the disease and drives its progression. Dina Halegoua-DeMarzio, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of Jefferson’s Fatty Liver Center, and her colleagues are working to uncover the cellular mechanisms underlying the disease, in part by identifying associated conditions. “Although Fatty Liver patients are often overweight, suffer insulin resistance and diabetes, and have high cholesterol,” Dr. Halegoua-DeMarzio explains, “we have found further associations with celiac disease and binge-eating disorders, and are investigating the exact relationships and causeand- effect connections among these conditions.”