Developmental Programming of Pediatric Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Redefining the“First Hit”

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Abstract

The incidence of pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease has increased dramatically, and growing evidence indicates that the pathophysiology may be unique from the adult form, suggesting a role for early-life events. Recent radiologic techniques have now demonstrated that maternal obesity contributes to hepatic fat storage in newborn infants. In this review, we will explore how maternal obesity and a hyperlipidemic environment can initiate liver histopathogenesis in utero, including steatosis, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and inflammatory priming. Thus, early exposure to excess lipids may represent the “first hit” for the fetal liver, placing it on a trajectory toward future metabolic disease.

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