Genetic Contribution to Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Prognostic Implications

Katherine Martin, Anas Hatab, Varinder S. Athwal, Elliot Jokl, Karen Piper Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major and increasing health burden, with the potential to overwhelm hepatology services. However, only a minority of patients develop advanced liver disease. The challenge is early identification of patients at risk of progression. This review aims to summarize current knowledge on the genetic predisposition to NAFLD, and its implications for prognostication and risk stratification. Recent Findings: PNPLA3-I148M is the most robustly associated genetic variant with NAFLD. Recently, variants in TM6SF2, MBOAT7, GCKR and HSD17B13 have also been implicated. NAFLD is a complex disease, and any one genetic variant alone is insufficient for risk stratification, but combining multiple genetic variants with other parameters is a promising strategy. Summary: It is anticipated that, in the near future, analysis of data from large-scale prospective cohorts will reveal NAFLD subtypes and enable the development of prognostic models. This will facilitate risk stratification of patients, enabling optimisation of resources to effectively manage the NAFLD epidemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalCurrent Diabetes Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Genetic
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Risk stratification


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