Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology

Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology

Friday, 09 / 21 / 2018


Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Lean Subjects: Characteristics and Implications


Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Lean Subjects: Characteristics and Implications

Ramesh Kumar* and Shantam Mohan

Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Paras HMR Institute, Patna, India

*Correspondence to: Dr Ramesh Kumar, Department of Gastroenterology, Institute of Gastrosciences, Medical Divisions, Paras HMR Institute, Patna 800014, India. Tel: +612-7107700-7852, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 2017;5(3):216-223 DOI: 10.14218/JCTH.2016.00068
Received: November 23, 2016 Accepted: May 15, 2017 Published online: July 5, 2017


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is commonly diagnosed in obese subjects; however, it is not rare among lean individuals. Given the absence of traditional risk factors, it tends to remain under-recognised. The metabolic profiles of lean NAFLD patients are frequently comparable to those of obese NAFLD patients. Though results from several studies have been mixed, it has been generally revealed that lean subjects with NAFLD have minor insulin resistance compared to that in obese NAFLD. Several genetic variants are associated with NAFLD without insulin resistance. Some data suggest that the prevalence of steatohepatitis and advanced fibrosis do not differ significantly between lean and obese NAFLD; however, the former tend to have less severe disease at presentation. The underlying pathophysiology of lean NAFLD may be quite different. Genetic predispositions, fructose- and cholesterol-rich diet, visceral adiposity and dyslipidaemia have potential roles in the pathogenic underpinnings. Lean NAFLD may pose a risk for metabolic disturbances, cardiovascular morbidity or overall mortality. Secondary causes of hepatic steatosis are also needed to be ruled out in lean subjects with NAFLD. The effectiveness of various treatment modalities, such as exercise and pharmacotherapy, on lean NAFLD is not known. Weight loss is expected to help lean NAFLD patients who have visceral obesity. Further investigation is needed for many aspects of lean NAFLD, including mechanistic pathogenesis, risk assessment, natural history and therapeutic approach.


Lean, NAFLD, BMI, Non-obese


Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 2017 vol. 5, 216-223  Html ] [ PDF Full-text ]


© The Authors 2017. This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license.



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