Co-existence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease: A review article
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Emerging data have highlighted the co-existence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and inflammatory bowel disease; both of which are increasingly prevalent disorders with significant complications and impact on future health burden. Cross-section observational studies have shown widely variable prevalence rates of co-existing disease, largely due to differences in disease definition and diagnostic tools utilised in the studies. Age, obesity, insulin resistance and other metabolic conditions are common risks factors in observational studies. However, other studies have also suggested a more dominant role of inflammatory bowel disease related factors such as disease activity, duration, steroid use and prior surgical intervention, in the development of NAFLD. This suggests a potentially more complex pathogenesis and relationship between the two diseases which may be contributed by factors including altered intestinal permeability, gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammatory response. Commonly used immunomodulation agents pose potential hepatic toxicity, however no definitive evidence exist linking them to the development of hepatic steatosis, nor are there any data on the impact of therapy and prognosis in patient with co-existent diseases. Further studies are required to assess the impact and establish appropriate screening and management strategies in order to allow early identification, intervention and improve patient outcomes.