Both alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are characterized by massive lipid accumulation in the liver accompanied by inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma in a substantial subgroup of patients. At several stages in these diseases, mediators of the immune system, such as cytokines or inflammasomes, are crucially involved. In ALD, chronic ethanol exposure sensitizes Kupffer cells to activation by lipopolysaccharides through Toll-like receptors, e.g., Toll-like receptor 4. This sensitization enhances the production of various proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, thereby contributing to hepatocyte dysfunction, necrosis, and apoptosis and the generation of extracellular matrix proteins leading to fibrosis/cirrhosis. Indeed, neutralization of IL-1 by IL-1 receptor antagonist has recently been shown to potently prevent liver injury in murine models of ALD. As IL-1 is clearly linked to key clinical symptoms of acute alcoholic hepatitis such as fever, neutrophilia, and wasting, interfering with the IL-1 pathway might be an attractive treatment strategy in the future. An important role for IL-1-type cytokines and certain inflammasomes has also been demonstrated in murine models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. IL-1-type cytokines can regulate hepatic steatosis; the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome is critically involved in metabolic dysregulation.
CONCLUSION: IL-1 cytokine family members and various inflammasomes mediate different aspects of both ALD and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gyongyi_szabo/203/