Abstract

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the fastest growing chronic liver disease, with a prevalence of up to 25% worldwide. Individuals with NAFLD have a high risk of disease progression to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and liver failure. With the exception of intrahepatic burden, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and especially atherosclerosis (AS) are common complications of NAFLD. Furthermore, CVD is a major cause of death in NAFLD patients. Additionally, AS is a metabolic disorder highly associated with NAFLD, and individual NAFLD pathologies can greatly increase the risk of AS. It is increasingly clear that AS-associated endothelial cell damage, inflammatory cell activation, and smooth muscle cell proliferation are extensively impacted by NAFLD-induced systematic dyslipidemia, inflammation, oxidative stress, the production of hepatokines, and coagulations. In clinical trials, drug candidates for NAFLD management have displayed promising effects for the treatment of AS. In this review, we summarize the key molecular events and cellular factors contributing to the metabolic burden induced by NAFLD on AS, and discuss therapeutic strategies for the improvement of AS in individuals with NAFLD.

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