Published: 17 August, 2021 | Volume 5 - Issue 1 | Pages: 032-038
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition that is associated with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and is increasing in prevalence worldwide. Sleep disruptions are commonly seen in NAFLD, and the disease process is associated with sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorders, and insufficient sleep. The intermittent hypoxia seen in obstructive sleep apnea may contribute to fibrotic changes in the liver.
A major component of this linkage may be related to gut microbiome changes. One notable change is increase in Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes ratio, and decrease in flora that ferment fiber into anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids. Several therapeutic options exist for NAFLD that target both sleep and NAFLD, including non-pharmacological factors, such as lifestyle modification (mainly diet and exercise). Pharmacological options include melatonin, Vitamin E, thiazolidinediones, and fecal microbiota transplantation.
The pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is closely tied to sleep and circadian rhythm abnormalities, through shared inflammatory pathways and altered metabolism. This review explores the pathogenesis of NAFLD in the context of sleep and circadian abnormalities. The associated inflammatory response is linked to changes in gut-microbiome interactions that contribute to the disease process. Understanding of this linkage has implications for various therapies for disease mitigation.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Sleep; Circadian rhythms; Dysbiosis; Microbiome