Autophagy, NAFLD and NAFLD-Related HCC

  • William K. K. WuEmail author
  • Lin Zhang
  • Matthew T. V. Chan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1061)


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) will become a dominant cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the coming decade. Whereas the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the progression from simple steatosis, through steatohepatitis, to HCC remains largely unclear, emerging evidence has supported a central role of defective autophagy in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and its complications. Autophagy not only regulates lipid metabolism and insulin resistance, but also protects hepatocytes from injury and cell death. Nevertheless, in inflammation and tumorigenesis, the role of autophagy is more paradoxical. In NAFLD, defective hepatic autophagy occurs at multiple levels through numerous mechanisms and is causally linked to NAFLD-related HCC. In this chapter, we summarize the regulation and function of autophagy in NAFLD and highlight recent identification of potential pharmacological agents for restoring autophagic flux in NAFLD.


Fatty liver Macroautophagy Tumor suppression Signaling 



The work was supported by Early Career Scheme (24115815) of the Research Grant Council Hong Kong; Shenzhen Science and Technology Programme (JCYJ20150630165236956, JCYC20140905151710921) of Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission; and Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2015A030313886) of Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • William K. K. Wu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lin Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matthew T. V. Chan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive CareThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine & Therapeutics and LKS Institute of Health SciencesThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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