Role of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A comprehensive review

Raquel Cano, José L. Pérez, Lissé Angarita Dávila, Ángel Ortega, Yosselin Gómez, Nereida Josefina Valero-Cedeño, Heliana Parra, Alexander Manzano, Teresa Isabel Véliz Castro, María P. Díaz Albornoz, Gabriel Cano, Joselyn Rojas-Quintero, Maricarmen Chacín, Valmore Bermúdez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is considered the most common liver disorder, affecting around 25% of the population worldwide. It is a complex disease spectrum, closely linked with other conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome, which may increase liver-related mortality. In light of this, numerous efforts have been carried out in recent years in order to clarify its pathogenesis and create new prevention strategies. Currently, the essential role of environmental pollutants in NAFLD development is recognized. Particularly, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have a notable influence. EDCs can be classified as natural (phytoestrogens, genistein, and coumestrol) or synthetic, and the latter ones can be further subdivided into industrial (dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, and alkylphenols), agricultural (pesti-cides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides), residential (phthalates, polybrominated biphenyls, and bisphenol A), and pharmaceutical (parabens). Several experimental models have proposed a mechanism involving this group of substances with the disruption of hepatic metabolism, which promotes NAFLD. These include an imbalance between lipid influx/efflux in the liver, mitochondrial dysfunction, liver inflammation, and epigenetic reprogramming. It can be concluded that exposure to EDCs might play a crucial role in NAFLD initiation and evolution. However, further investigations supporting these effects in humans are required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4807
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Exposure
  • Liver disorder
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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