Excessive fat accumulation in the liver can lead to serious medical problems, including liver failure. Thus, understanding the distribution of lipids within the liver is a critical step in diagnosing fatty liver diseases. A team of researchers has now shown that near-infrared hyperspectral imaging permits the visualization of lipid content in mouse liver. This technique can facilitate the diagnosis of fatty liver diseases in medical research.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a pathological condition characterized by excessive fat stored in the liver that is not attributed to heavy alcohol consumption, which can lead to liver failure and even cancer. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol levels are all risk factors for this disease, and like the global prevalence of obesity, the prevalence of NAFLD is coincidently expected to rise as well.
It is therefore critical for clinicians to handle effective tools for diagnosing NAFLD. The current standard method for diagnosis is an analysis of liver biopsy samples. However, this approach has shortcomings such as invasiveness and the potential for sampling errors, so there is a pressing need for reliable noninvasive methods.