Fatty Liver and Heart Failure — Why? And Can Semaglutide Make a Difference?

Posted on 18.06.2019

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are affecting more and more Danes because an increasing number of people are overweight and have type 2 diabetes. It has recently been reported that fatty liver disease can be a precursor for heart failure, but no one knows exactly why—yet.

Medical resident Indumathi Kumarathas from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital has received a grant from the Danish Diabetes Academy to try to find the mechanism behind this correlation in her PhD study.

In the study, she and the research group she participates in—under the direction of chief physician and clinical professor Søren Nielsen—will investigate disorders in the metabolism of fats and sugars in heart, liver, muscle and fat tissues in order to describe the possible mechanisms. They also want to investigate whether the diabetes medication called semaglutide can affect these disorders, as some have suggested.

In this project, the researchers will use various methods such as PET scans in combination with VLDL-TG tracers, echocardiography and tissue biopsies to determine the heart, liver and peripheral tissues’ metabolism of fatty acids, glucose and VLDL triglycerides.

‘Our goal is to confirm or exclude the existence of common metabolic disorders in the heart, liver, skeletal muscle and adipose tissues in relation to the metabolism of metabolites and abnormal heart contractility in individuals with type 2 diabetes and NAFLD. We also hope to find out whetherthese disorders can be modified with semaglutide treatment’, says Indumathi Kumarathas.

There are currently only a few treatment options available for fatty liver disease, and the hope is that new knowledge about these interrelationships can help doctors treat their patients more effectively.


Indumathi Kumarathas
Medical Resident
Institute for Biomedicine, Research and Education
Aarhus University
+45 30299715

Danish Diabetes Academy
Managing Director Tore Christiansen
+45 29646764

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