The rising prevalence of obesity in the last few decades has been accompanied by an increase in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD encompasses a spectrum of liver pathology from isolated hepatic steatosis to steatohepatitis and advanced fibrosis. Dietary habits characterized by consumption of high-caloric, lipid-rich diets play a major role in the development of NAFLD. Recent studies have uncovered the importance of certain components of the diet. In this review, we will focus on the growing evidence for a central role of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. We will discuss novel findings linking oxidative stress and increased production of reactive oxygen species in the liver to oxidation of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and production of specific lipid oxidation metabolites. In particular, we will highlight the potential role of these metabolites as noninvasive markers to diagnose and monitor the extent of liver damage in patients with NAFLD.
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