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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 716404, 13 pages
Review Article

The Role of Metformin in the Management of NAFLD

Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro, Campus Universitario, Località Germaneto, Viale Europa, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy

Received 14 July 2011; Accepted 4 October 2011

Academic Editor: Konstantinos Kantartzis

Copyright © 2012 Angela Mazza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disorder worldwide. Its prevalence ranges 10–24% in the general population, reaching 60–95% and 28–55% in obese and diabetic patients, respectively. Although the etiology of NAFLD is still unclear, several lines of evidences have indicated a pathogenetic role of insulin resistance in this disorder. This concept has stimulated several clinical studies where antidiabetic drugs, such as insulin sensitizers including metformin, have been evaluated in insulin-resistant, NAFLD patients. These studies indicate that metformin might be of benefit in the treatment of NAFLD, also in nondiabetic patients, when associated to hypocaloric diet and weight control. However, the heterogeneity of these studies still prevents us from reaching firm conclusions about treatment guidelines. Moreover, metformin could have beneficial tissue-specific effects in NAFLD patients irrespective of its effects as insulin sensitizer.