Metabolic mechanisms for and treatment of NAFLD or NASH occurring after liver transplantation


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This Review outlines the occurrence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in patients who have undergone liver transplantation for prior NASH-related cirrhosis (recurrent) or other liver indications (de novo). The rising tide of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) associated with the obesity epidemic is a major health concern worldwide. NAFLD - specifically its more advanced form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-related cirrhosis - is now the fastest growing indication for liver transplantation in the USA and Europe. Although the short-term and mid-term overall survival rates of patients who receive a liver transplant for NASH-related cirrhosis are essentially similar to those of patients who receive a transplant for other liver indications, recipients with NASH-related cirrhosis have an increased risk of waiting-list mortality and of developing recurrent liver disease and cardiometabolic complications in the longer term after liver transplantation. This Review provides a brief overview of the epidemiology of NAFLD and NASH and the occurrence of NAFLD or NASH in patients after liver transplantation for NASH and other liver indications. It also discusses the putative metabolic mechanisms underlying the emergence of NAFLD or NASH after liver transplantation as well as optimal therapeutic approaches for recipients of liver transplants, including the management of cardiometabolic comorbidities, tailored immunosuppression, lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapy for NAFLD.
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