Study Finds Relationship Between PNPLA3 Gene & Obesity Associate With Risk Of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

By Dipannita | Apr 28, 2017 01:38 AM EDT

Obesity shares a close connection with NAFLD as a study has concluded that excess fat in the body increases the risk of the deadly disease. Obesity does so by enhancing the effects of three gene variants but the most potent of them all is PNPLA3, which is the first established genetic cause of NAFLD.

While obesity is notorious for causing a range of diseases, it is said to be the main culprit behind nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and now the connection has got scientific validation as well. According to Science Daily, obesity increases the risk of NAFLD through three gene variants. Of these, PNPLA3, the one that is the genetic cause of NAFLD, was found to have the highest interaction with the environment.

It is this very interaction that causes inflammation and fibrosis in people who carry the high-risk PNPLA3 gene variant. The study also found that obesity and genetics seem to share a positive link as they foster fat accumulation in liver and chronic liver disease. Notably, the study was conducted under the title The Dallas Heart Study and was also published this week.

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So, all it boils down to the fact that those people who have the PNPAL3 gene variant in their body and are also obese are prone to having more fat in their liver. The ones who are thin but do have PNPAL3 are not likely to have excess liver fat as it has a mild effect. Same holds true for the ones who are fat and have PNPAL3 missing in their body. Also, the scientists suggested that obese individuals with the risky gene variant would benefit from weight loss.

It is worth mentioning here that NAFLD is one of the most common causes responsible for liver diseases in America. Estimates indicate that around 30-40 percent adults in the USA have a fatty liver which is non-dangerous in nature but 3-12 percent suffer from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a serious type of NAFLD that can result in liver cancer and cirrhosis.

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