CBBM Lecture "The Role of NAFLD in Cardiometabolic Diseases" by

Prof. Dr. Norbert Stefan, Department of Internal Medicine IV, University Hospital of Tübingen, Germany

will take place on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 from 16:00 to 17:00 hours in CBBM, Ground Floor, Seminar Room B1/B2.Host: Dr. Henriette KirchnerDepartment of Internal Medicine IUniversity of Lübeck


The prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing world-wide and 25 percent of the general adult population in the world is affected by NAFLD. This increase in the prevalence of NAFLD is accompanying the increasing prevalence of the non-communicable diseases type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity- and type 2 diabetes-associated cancer, and advanced liver diseases, such as hepatic cirrhosis and hepatic cancer. NAFLD is involved in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Among the respective mechanisms, hepatic insulin resistance in NAFLD results in increased glucose production and a dysregulation of lipoprotein metabolism. Furthermore, several proteins which are exclusively or predominantly secreted from the liver (hepatokines), and are now known to directly affect glucose and lipid metabolism in other organs and induce subclinical inflammation, are dysregulated in NAFLD. Thus, particularly research into the concept of hepatokines is expected to aid in differentiating between the contribution of the liver and those of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and to develop tailored prevention and treatment strategies.


Norbert Stefan is Holder of the W3 Heisenberg Professorship for Clinical and Experimental Diabetology at the Department of Internal Medicine IV at the University Hospital of Tübingen, Germany. He is also Head of the Department of Pathophysiology of Prediabetes at the Institute of Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) of the Helmholtz Centre Munich at the University of Tübingen. Furthermore, he is holder of a Visiting Professorship at the Harvard Medical School.

In his scientific career Norbert Stefan focuses on the clinical-experimental approach to understand the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and to implement intervention strategies to prevent the disease. After conducting clinical research in the field of type 2 diabetes at the NIH in Phoenix, Norbert Stefan received a full professorship at the University of Tübingen. A highlight of his research was the description and precise characterization of the metabolically healthy obesity in humans. This work triggered many studies aiming at investigating the role of this interesting condition in the pathogenesis, not only of type 2 diabetes, but also of cardiovascular disease and cancer. A key finding of the metabolically healthy obesity was that it is characterized particularly by a lower amount of liver fat content, but less so by a lower amount of visceral obesity. In support, he found genetic variability in the adiponectin receptor 1 gene to determine the phenotype, which is in agreement with animal data showing an important role of adiponectin signaling in the regulation of hepatic lipid oxidation. The second main research interest of Norbert Stefan is to identify mechanisms by which fatty liver impacts on the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, he investigates the role of hepatokines in the natural history of cardiometabolic diseases. Finally, Norbert Stefan is conducting clinical trials to treat fatty liver and prevent type 2 diabetes. This research is embedded in scientific collaborations with researchers at the University of Tübingen, the Helmholtz Centre Munich, in EU projects and at the Harvard Medical School.