Alcoholic liver disease: Where we are now
28 Sep 2014
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is one of the main health problems worldwide, causing millions of deaths each year. The past decades had provided significant progress on the understanding of the onset and progression of ALD. However, there is still no treatment available for ALD, which calls for a novel pathophysiological-targeted therapy. Recent data showed that alcohol consumption induces harmful effects. On the other hand, it was also shown that alcohol can activate several adaptive protective responses to attenuate alcohol-induced liver pathogenesis such as FoxO3, IL-22, autophagy and nuclear lipin-1α. Milk osteopontin seems to protect against ALD, but the role is still controversial. Several clinical trials are ongoing focusing on the harmful effects caused by alcohol consumption. Meanwhile, development of new approaches to target the protective mechanisms induced by alcohol consumption is much anticipated. Better animal models are still needed for the continuing understanding of ALD pathogenesis and for the development of new treatments.