ROME, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Italian researchers said a genetic mutation may increase the risk of steatohepatitis, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
A team of Italian, British and U.S. researchers found that inflamed livers show larger amounts of the switch protein KLF6 that regulates various biological processes, ANSA reported Thursday.
The findings are published in the journal Gastroenterology.
Antonio Grieco of Catholic University in Rome said people who suffer from the disease have livers that are stuffed with fat, which activates inflammation and results in the formation of scar tissue that can lead to hepatic cirrhosis and tumors.
The researchers said process can take 30 or 40 years to develop in most patients but it occurs much faster in people with the genetic mutation.