Fatty liver disease and endocrine disruption

fatty liver diseasfrom Wikipedia

UCSF researchers uncover hormone pathway to fatty liver disease
[Via EurekAlert! – Biology]

(University of California – San Francisco) Scientists at the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute have discovered how a change in growth hormone activity in mice leads to fatty liver disease, a condition whose human counterpart is of rising concern worldwide.



Brandon C. Sos, Charles Harris, Sarah M. Nordstrom, Jennifer L. Tran, Mercedesz Balázs, Patrick Caplazi, Maria Febbraio, Milana A.B. Applegate, Kay-Uwe Wagner, Ethan J. Weiss
J. Clin. Invest. 2011; doi:10.1172/JCI42894


Endocrine disruptors are a major problem in our polluted environment. One aspect of these is the effect they have on several disease states. Diabetes  amongst young people is correlated with low levels of an important endocrine modulator, Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

Now it turns out that another modern disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, may also be associated with a disrupted endocrine system involving IGF-1.

This paper describes research in an animal model. They find that disrupting a pathway that produces IGF-1 results in fatty liver disease. The IGF-1 levels plummet and the liver disease arises.

The low IGF-1 levels causes the pituitary to produce huge amounts of growth hormone, trying ti increase IGF-1 levels. But the disrupted system is unable to do that.

If they then produce mice that can not produce growth hormone at all , even disrupted endocrine systems did not result in fatty liver disease.

One of the outcomes of estrogen mimics and other endocrine disruptors is they result in much lower levels of IGF-1. If this happens, all sorts of disease become much more likely, from diabetes to obesity.

And now, it appears, fatty liver disease.