Air pollution linked to fatty liver disease: Study

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New Delhi: According to large-scale epidemiological studies, a relationship between ambient air pollution and long-term risk of metabolically linked fatty liver disease (MAFLD) has been identified.


The research is published in the ‘Journal of Hepatology’. The incidence of MAFLD has steadily increased since the 1980s, currently affecting a quarter of the global population and most patients with adult-onset diabetes and has become a major global burden. In Asia, MAFLD increased to 40 percent between 2012 and 2017. Formerly known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), it can progress to cirrhosis and end-stage liver diseases such as liver cancer, liver transplantation and liver-related death.


Accumulating animal studies have shown that breathing air pollutants can increase the risk of MAFLD. For example, fine particulate matter exposure can trigger a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-like phenotype, impair hepatic glucose metabolism and promote hepatic fibrogenesis.


“The MAFLD epidemic coincides with rapid industrialization around the world, as well as environmental and lifestyle changes,” explained principal investigator Jing Zhao, from the West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu. Sichuan, China.


“An increasing number of studies have suggested that ambient air pollution, the biggest environmental problem caused by industrialization, can increase the risk of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, and related diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome. However, epidemiological evidence for association was limited, so we conducted this research to improve our understanding of the effects of air pollution on human health and to help reduce the burden of MAFLD.”


The investigators conducted an epidemiological study on the potential role of ambient air pollution in the risk of MAFLD in approximately 90,000 adults in China based on the baseline survey of the China Multi-Ethnic Cohort (CMEC), a prospective cohort that included approximately 100,000 participants in the Southwest. was nominated. China from 2018 to 2019. CMEC collected participants’ information including sociodemographic, lifestyle habits, and health-related history through oral interviews conducted by trained staff and subsequently assessed anthropometrics, biosamples (blood, urine and saliva), and imaging data.


The researchers found that long-term exposure to ambient air pollution may increase the likelihood of MAFLD, especially in individuals who are men, smokers and drinkers, and consume a high-fat diet. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and excess accumulation of fat in the abdominal region can exacerbate the harmful effects.
“Our findings add to the growing evidence of harmful effects of ambient pollution on metabolic function and related organs,” commented Zhao and his co-investigators.


“However, physical activity was not modifying the relationship between air pollution and MAFLD,” Zhao said. may or may not.”


The investigators proposed that air pollution should be recognized as a modifiable risk factor for MAFLD. People at high risk should be aware of the air quality in the areas where they live and plan their activities to reduce their exposure to air pollution.


In an accompanying editorial, Massimo Colombo, MD, San Raffaele Hospital, Liver Center, Milan, Italy, and Robert Baroucci, MD, PhD, University of Paris, Inserm Unit T3S, Paris, France, noted that the key determinants have been evaluated by the WHO. Worldwide mortality rates showed that global pollution topped the list, ranking higher than smoking, alcohol consumption and major infectious diseases, and air pollution, the most important component of global pollution, accounts for millions of deaths per year worldwide. likely to be responsible.


“Improved characterization of liver exposure is expected to improve prevention and precautionary counseling,” commented Colombo and Dr. Barouki.


“Indeed, while physical activity along with a healthy diet stands as a primary pillar in the fight against morbidities associated with the metabolic syndrome, including MAFLD, the conclusion that ambient pollution may increase MAFLD risk may warrant counseling for these patients.” For example by limiting exposure of at-risk populations to open air at high levels of pollution, as recommended for patients with severe asthma. This accelerates efforts in line with WHO guidelines. This constitutes an additional incentive for decision-makers to give and limit air pollution, as many cities in Europe and around the world are still well above those limits,” he concluded. (ANI)

First published:December 26, 2021, 3:20 pm

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