Histopathology of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Research paper by Yoshihisa Y Takahashi, Toshio T Fukusato

Indexed on: 18 Nov '14Published on: 18 Nov '14Published in: World journal of gastroenterology


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome, is the most common chronic liver disease, and the prevalence is rapidly increasing worldwide. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the severe form of NAFLD, can progress to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although noninvasive clinical scores and image-based diagnosis for NAFLD have improved, histopathological evaluation of biopsy specimens remains the gold standard for diagnosing NAFLD/NASH. Steatosis, lobular inflammation, and hepatocellular ballooning are all necessary components for the diagnosis of NASH; fibrosis is also typically observed. Other histopathological abnormalities commonly observed in NASH include hepatocellular glycogenated nuclei, lipogranulomas, and acidophil bodies. The characteristics of pediatric NAFLD/NASH differ from adult NAFLD/NASH. Specifically, steatosis and portal inflammation are more severe in pediatric NAFLD, while intralobular inflammation and perisinusoidal fibrosis are milder. Although interobserver agreement for evaluating the extent of steatosis and fibrosis is high, agreement is low for intralobular and portal inflammation. A recently reported histological variant of HCC, steatohepatitic HCC (SH-HCC), shows features that resemble non-neoplastic steatohepatitis, and is thought to be strongly associated with underlying NASH. In this report, we review the histopathological features of NAFLD/NASH.