William G. Gilroy | Jan. 16, 2014 | Notre Dame College of Science
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame and the Indiana University School of Medicine have revealed a putative role for the circadian clock in the liver in the development of alcohol-induced hepatic steatosis, or fatty liver disease.
Hepatic steatosis is the abnormal accumulation of fats in the cells of the liver, and is linked to disturbed control of fat metabolism. Alcohol-induced liver steatosis is produced by excessive alcohol consumption and is linked to hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver. It can be a precursor to an even more serious illness, liver cirrhosis, which includes scarring of the liver. Ten percent to 35 percent of chronic heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, and it is the main cause of liver disease in Western countries.