Autophagy is a mechanism involved in cellular homeostasis under basal and stressed conditions delivering cytoplasmic content to the lysosomes for degradation to macronutrients. The potential role of autophagy in disease is increasingly recognised and investigated. To date, a key role of autophagy in hepatic lipid metabolism is recognised and dysfunctional autophagy might be an underlying cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Nevertheless, the exact role of autophagy in lipid metabolism remains controversial, with both a lipolytic function of autophagy and lipogenic function reported. This chapter aims to review the current knowledge on autophagy in NAFLD, with a special focus on its role in hepatic lipid metabolism, hepatic glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, steatohepatitis, hepatocellular injury and hepatic fibrogenesis. Finally, interaction with another cellular homeostatic process, the unfolded protein response (UPR), will be briefly discussed.
Part of the book: Autophagy in Current Trends in Cellular Physiology and Pathology