The role of protein kinases as key drivers of metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease progression: New insights and future directions

  • 15 Oct 2022
  • Recently published Research - Pharmacy


Salah Alshehade, Mohammed Abdullah Alshawsh, Vikneswaran Murugaiyah, Muhammad Asif, Omayma Alshehade, Hassan Almoustafa, Raghdaa Al Zarzour

Published in

Life Sciences, volume 305, article 120732, September 2022.



Metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), proposed in 2020 is a novel term for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which was coined for the first time in 1980. It is a leading cause of the most chronic liver disease and hepatic failure all over the world, and unfortunately, with no licensed drugs for treatment yet. The progress of the disease is driven by the triggered inflammatory process, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance in many pathways, starting with simple hepatic steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Protein kinases (PKs), such as MAPK, ErbB, PKC, PI3K/Akt, and mTOR, govern most of the pathological pathways by acting on various downstream key points in MAFLD and regulating both hepatic gluco- lipo-neogenesis and inflammation. Therefore, modulating the function of those potential protein kinases that are effectively involved in MAFLD might be a promising therapeutic approach for tackling this disease. In the current review, we have discussed the key role of protein kinases in the pathogenesis of MAFLD and performed a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network among the main proteins of each kinase pathway with MAFLD-related proteins to predict the most likely targets of the PKs in MAFLD. Moreover, we have reported the experimental, pre-clinical, and clinical data for the most recent investigated molecules that are activating p38- MAPK and AMPK proteins and inhibiting the other PKs to improve MAFLD condition by regulating oxidation and inflammation signalling.

Key words: Metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease, MAFLD, Protein kinases, Protein-protein interaction, Mitogen-activated protein kinase, Liver.

Link to abstract