Department of Cardiology, Smidt Heart Institute
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Project Title: Metabolic, Myocardial, and Molecular Markers Connecting Fatty Liver and Cardiovascular Disease

Susan Cheng, MD – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Shelly Lu, MD – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Debiao Li, PhD – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Multidisciplinary expertise:
Cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, magnetic resonance imaging, metabolomics

Project Description:
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects approximately one in three US adults. While this condition may progress towards advanced hepatic disease, the most common cause of death in these patients is cardiovascular disease (CVD). Epidemiological studies have identified NAFLD itself as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality, however, the mechanisms by which fatty liver affects the heart is uncertain. In this project, we will focus on the role that inflammation may play in mediating preclinical cardiovascular disease represented by coronary microvascular dysfunction and steatosis in the heart. We will investigate the heart-liver axis using advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques and comprehensive metabolomic profiling of eicosanoids, which are upstream mediators of inflammation that have critical roles in both cardiovascular and hepatic disease states. The overarching goal of this research is to identify therapeutically targetable eicosanoid pathways for mitigating the cardiovascular risk of NAFLD.