• Queen Mary University of London
  • Barts Health NHS
  • Bradford NHS
  • Manchester Uni

S00036: A Genome-Wide Association Study of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Institution: University College London

Investigator: Marsha Morgan

Liver disease is responsible for over 2 million deaths each year.  The global burden of liver disease is increasing dramatically, mostly in low and middle-income countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.  The most common liver disease worldwide is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which results from fat building up in the liver. About 10-15 % of people with NAFLD develop scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) or liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), which are associated with long term illness and early death.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are the most important risk factors for NAFLD currently known, both of which are common in South Asians.  A number of genetic factors have been associated with the risk of developing NAFLD in people of European ancestry but there is no information on possible genetic risk factors in people of south Asian ancestry

This study aims to discover whether there are specific genetic contributors to NAFLD in South Asians, and whether these are different to those already identified in Europeans.  To do this we will compare the genetic make-up of people of South Asian ancestry who have NAFLD with those who don’t, using the genetic and health data in Genes and Health.  

The results of this study will help improve health in South Asian populations by providing (i) a better understand the biology of NAFLD; (ii) facilitating screening, diagnosis, and prevention of NAFLD; and (iii) identifying possible targets for treatment development.