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nafld pathogenesis, mash, masld, covid-19 + dili, covid-19 + gut microbiota, hepatobiliary congestion, nash, nafld, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, covid-19







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It is estimated that around 30% of the population living in Western countries has metabolic dysfunctionassociated steatotic liver disease (MASLD), a spectrum of pathology (not attributed to alcohol/substance intake) initiated by steatosis and progression toward inflammation and irreversible fibrosis metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH). With inflammation being a key component of the transition to MASH, it raises the question of whether the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has notoriously induced hyperinflammatory states, may influence the progression of MASLD. Specifically, it remains unclear if the potential chronic sequelae of COVID-19 in patients who recovered from it may increase the predisposition for MASH. Since MASH maintains a high risk for hepatocellular carcinoma, liver failure, and the need for a liver transplant, the potential additive effects of COVID-19 could prove critical to study. Thus, the objective of this study was to conduct a literature review to examine if COVID-19 could have chronic sequelae that affect the progression of MASLD pathogenesis. It was hypothesized that severe cases of COVID-19 could induce systemic inflammation, metabolic changes, and lasting gut microbiome alterations that lead to inflammatory and fibrotic changes in the liver, similar to those seen in MASH. A scoping review of the literature was conducted utilizing the PubMed database. Studies that examined hepatobiliary pathology, gut microbiome, systemic inflammation, metabolic changes, drug-induced liver injury (DILI), and hypoxia seen in COVID-19 were included. Human studies of adult cohorts, animal models, and in vitro experiments were included. Genetic components of MASLD were not examined. Exclusion criteria also encompassed any studies not referencing the hepatobiliary, gastrointestinal tract, portal system, or systemic circulation. Findings indicated a frequent trend of elevated liver enzymes, mild steatosis, Kupffer cell hyperplasia, and hepatobiliary congestion. It was found that direct cytopathic effects on hepatocytes were unlikely, but the direct viral insult of cholangiocytes was a potential complication. High serum levels of IL-1, TNF-a, and MCP-1, in COVID-19 were found as potential risk factors for MASH development. Hypoxia, altered lipid metabolism, and iatrogenic DILI were also proposed as potential precipitators of MASH development. Notably, lasting changes in gut microbiome were also frequently observed and correlated closely with those seen in MASH.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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