Copyright ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. Aug 27, 2020; 12(8): 436-450
Published online Aug 27, 2020. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v12.i8.436
Lipidomics in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Sofia Kartsoli, Christina E Kostara, Vasilis Tsimihodimos, Eleni T Bairaktari, Dimitrios K Christodoulou
Sofia Kartsoli, Dimitrios K Christodoulou, Department of Gastroenterology, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Ioannina 45110, Greece
Christina E Kostara, Eleni T Bairaktari, Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Ioannina 45110, Greece
Vasilis Tsimihodimos, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Ioannina 45110, Greece
Author contributions: Kartsoli S and Kostara C performed the literature review and drafted the initial manuscript; Tsimihodimos V, Bairaktari E, and Christodoulou D contributed to manuscript analysis, editing, and critical revision; all authors approved the submitted version of the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflict of interests for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Dimitrios K Christodoulou, MD, PhD, Professor of Gastroenterology, Department of Gastroenterology, School of Health Sciences, University Hospital of Ioannina, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, PO Box 1186, Ioannina 45110, Greece.
Received: February 28, 2020
Peer-review started: February 28, 2020
First decision: May 20, 2020
Revised: June 3, 2020
Accepted: June 20, 2020
Article in press: June 20, 2020
Published online: August 27, 2020

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most common chronic liver disorder in Western countries, comprises steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), with the latter having the potential to progress to cirrhosis. The transition from isolated steatosis to NASH is still poorly understood, but lipidomics approach revealed that the hepatic lipidome is extensively altered in the setting of steatosis and steatohepatitis and these alterations correlate with disease progression. Recent data suggest that both quantity and quality of the accumulated lipids are involved in pathogenesis of NAFLD. Changes in glycerophospholipid, sphingolipid, and fatty acid composition have been described in both liver biopsies and plasma of patients with NAFLD, implicating that specific lipid species are involved in oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell death. In this article, we summarize the findings of main human lipidomics studies in NAFLD and delineate the currently available information on the pathogenetic role of each lipid class in lipotoxicity and disease progression.

Keywords: Lipidomics, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, Lipotoxicity, Fatty acids, Ceramides

Core tip: Lipidomics is a new rapidly growing field that allows the overall and detailed investigation of the whole lipid composition in a given biology matrix. Lipid profiling of liver biopsies of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has previously revealed several changes in glycerophospholipids and sphingolipids concentrations and alterations in fatty acid pattern compared to healthy control. However, findings from lipidomics studies in plasma samples are inconsistent. We review the main findings of lipidomics studies and the important pathophysiological role of specific lipid species in lipotoxicity and development of NAFLD.