Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Academic Editor: Nobuhiro Sato
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most common form of hepatic disorders in the developed world. NAFLD is part of the metabolic syndrome with insulin resistance as a primary underlying derangement. The natural history of NAFLD may extend from simple steatosis over steatohepatitis into cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Among numerous factors shaping these transitions, uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) may theoretically contribute to every stage of this disease. UCP2 is a recently identified fatty acid-responsive mitochondrial inner membrane carrier protein showing wide tissue distribution with a substantially increased presence in fatty liver. The biological functions of UCP2 are not fully elucidated and the greater part of our current knowledge has been obtained from animal experiments. These data suggest a role for UCP2 in lipid metabolism, mitochondrial bioenergetics, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and even carcinogenesis. Available evidence is reviewed and new concepts are considered to appraise the potential role of UCP2 in the pathogenesis of NAFLD.