Lipids And Liver Disease

The normal liver contains about 4 per cent fat, the majority of which is phospholipid, the remainder being glycerides and cholesterol. In a number of pathologic conditions, lipids accumulate in the liver cells and this accumulation is often followed by fibrosis and cirrhosis.

Fatty livers have been produced in experimental animals by diets high in fat and by diets low in protein and low in fat. Deficiency of choline or methionine appears to be related to the accumulation of lipid in these situations. Abundant evidence suggests that cirrhosis of the liver in man is often due to dietary deficiency. Administration of choline has been shown to result in a decrease in liver fat in fatty alcoholic cirrhosis; both choline and methionine have been found to increase the rate of phospholipid turnover. The value of diets high in protein in the prevention and treatment of experimental cirrhosis is well documented; evidence strongly suggests that this is the case in man.