Is fatty liver disease (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease? This question has been the subject of discussion for years.
In any case, a link has been recently established, and it refers to an inflammatory process. An American team from the University of South Carolina, via a recent research, has shown a strong correlation between fatty liver disease and neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative manifestations.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH) results in an accumulation of fat in the liver, which can progress to very severe damage (fibrosis, cirrhosis, cancer, etc.). People who suffer from obesity and/or diabetes are considered to be at high risk. As for neuroinflammation, it is identified as a precursor stage of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers explored the role of a protein called lipocalin 2 (LCN2) as a potential mediator of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in fatty liver disease, knowing that in this situation the protein circulates in much higher amounts. .
By proceeding on an animal model and in vitro (“in test tube”), the researchers have demonstrated a cascade of biochemical events on the liver–brain axis, which supports the hypothesis of the involvement of LCN2 in the phenomenon of neuroinflammatory disease that affects the brain.
In itself, this is an interesting finding, but it is even more so when one considers this protein as a possible therapeutic target. Because if its activity is attenuated, so would the neuroinflammatory process, with a form of protection against the neurodegenerative risk associated.