Editorial
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2019. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. Sep 10, 2019; 10(2): 11-16
Published online Sep 10, 2019. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v10.i2.11
Overview of studies of the vitamin D/vitamin D receptor system in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Flavia Agata Cimini, Ilaria Barchetta, Simone Carotti, Sergio Morini, Maria Gisella Cavallo
Flavia Agata Cimini, Ilaria Barchetta, Maria Gisella Cavallo, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome I-00161, Italy
Simone Carotti, Sergio Morini, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Laboratory of Microscopic and Ultrastructural Anatomy, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Rome I-00128, Italy
Author contributions: Morini S and Cavallo MG conceived the study; Cimini FA, Barchetta I and Carotti S drafted the manuscript; all the authors approved the final version of the article.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors report no conflicts of interest to declare.
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 Non Commercial (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: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Sergio Morini, MD, Full Professor, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Laboratory of Microscopic and Ultrastructural Anatomy, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, via Alvaro del Portillo 21, Rome I-00128, Italy. s.morini@unicampus.it
Telephone: +39-6-225419170 Fax: +39-6-22541456
Received: May 18, 2019
Peer-review started: May 20, 2019
First decision: August 2, 2019
Revised: August 9, 2019
Accepted: August 21, 2019
Article in press: August 21, 2019
Published online: September 10, 2019
Abstract

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the world. NAFLD is known to be associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and increased cardiovascular events: for these reasons, it is becoming a global public health problem and represents an important challenge in terms of prevention and treatment. The mechanisms behind the pathogenesis of NAFLD are multiple and have not yet been completely unraveled; consequently, at moment there are not effective treatments. In the past few years a large body of evidence has been assembled that attributes an important role in hepatic aberrant fat accumulation, inflammation and fibrosis, to the vitamin D/vitamin D receptor (VD/VDR) axis, showing a strong association between hypovitaminosis D and the diagnosis of NAFLD. However, the data currently available, including clinical trials with VD supplementation, still provides a contrasting picture. The purpose of this editorial is to provide an overview of recent advances in the pathogenesis of NAFLD in relation to VD/VDR. Based on recent data from literature, we focused in particular on the hypothesis that VDR itself, independently from its traditional ligand VD, may have a crucial function in promoting hepatic fat accumulation. This might also offer new possibilities for future innovative therapeutic approaches in the management of NAFLD.

Keywords: Vitamin D, Vitamin D receptor, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Type 2 diabetes

Core tip: In the last years, many evidences attribute to the vitamin D/vitamin D Receptor axis an important role in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The purpose of this editorial is to provide an overview of recent advances in the pathogenesis of NAFLD in relation to vitamin D/vitamin D receptor (VD/VDR). We focused in particular on the hypothesis that VDR itself, independently from its traditional ligand VD, may play a crucial function in promoting hepatic fat accumulation, also offering new possibilities for innovative therapeutic approaches in the management of NAFLD.