Many studies have reported that metabolic dysfunction is closely involved in the complex mechanism underlying the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which has prompted a movement to consider renaming NAFLD as metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). Metabolic dysfunction in this context encompasses obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome, with insulin resistance as the common underlying pathophysiology. Imbalance between energy intake and expenditure results in insulin resistance in various tissues and alteration of the gut microbiota, resulting in fat accumulation in the liver. The role of genetics has also been revealed in hepatic fat accumulation and fibrosis. In the process of fat accumulation in the liver, intracellular damage as well as hepatic insulin resistance further potentiates inflammation, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. Increased lipogenic substrate supply from other tissues, hepatic zonation of Irs1, and other factors, including ER stress, play crucial roles in increased hepatic de novo lipogenesis in MAFLD with hepatic insulin resistance. Herein, we provide an overview of the factors contributing to and the role of systemic and local insulin resistance in the development and progression of MAFLD.
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