"Professor Norbert Stefan has been researching the metabolic syndrome involving the liver as a disease manifestation for many years. He was able to show convincingly that it is no longer so often the classic liver damage pathology caused by inflammation such as hepatitis, but above all the fat overload that causes liver disease. In the concert of risk factors of the metabolic syndrome, fatty liver has a negative influence on the "overall prognosis" and above all the cardiovascular prognosis of the patient," said Professor Diethelm Tschöpe, spokesperson for the award committee and director of the Diabetes Center in the HDZ NRW, at the award ceremony. “Professor Stefan was one of the early and first colleagues who devoted his scientific work to the topic of fatty liver with international success. That is why he was selected to receive the “glucohead 2021” award,” said Tschöpe.
Professor Norbert Stefan emphasized that the diagnosis of fatty liver can help to treat patients in a more targeted manner: "Fatty liver is an important marker for people with a high risk of heart attack and heart failure." He sees fatty liver as a complication that can also help identify patients with diabetes or an increased risk of diabetes. “Not all overweight people have metabolic problems. There are also healthy fat people. Fatty liver is an important factor that makes the difference here,” Stefan said. His research work showed that also thin people can develop fatty liver and thus can have a higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Prof. Norbert Stefan (left) and Prof. Diethelm Tschöpe at the presentation of the “glucohead 2021” award (© Marcel Mompour/ HDZ NRW)
Professor Norbert Stefan holds the Chair and Heisenberg Professorship for Clinical and Experimental Diabetology at Tübingen University Hospital and is head of the Department of Pathophysiology of Prediabetes at the Institute of Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases, Helmholtz Munich, at the University of Tübingen. At the German Center for Diabetes Research, Stefan is one of the coordinators of the research focus "Causes and Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)".
Endowed with 2500 euros, “glucohead” is awarded by the Heart and Diabetes Center NRW to creative researchers for their innovative concepts in diabetology. The prize is awarded to people who initiate and implement exemplary projects and make a significant contribution to improving diabetes care. The relevance of a project, the benefits for patients, sustainability, evaluation, independence and credibility are criteria for being nominated for the award.
Selected publications on the topic:
Stefan N, Häring HU. Circulating fetuin-A and free fatty acids interact to predict insulin resistance in humans. Nat Med. 2013 Apr;19(4):394-5. DOI: 10.1038/nm.3116
Stefan N, Ramsauer M, Jordan P, Nowotny B, Kantartzis K, Machann J, Hwang JH, Nowotny P, Kahl S, Harreiter J, Hornemann S, Sanyal AJ, Stewart PM, Pfeiffer AF, Kautzky-Willer A, Roden M, Häring HU, Fürst-Recktenwald S. Inhibition of 11β-HSD1 with RO5093151 for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014 May;2(5):406-16. DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70170-0
Stefan N, Schick F, Häring HU. Causes, Characteristics, and Consequences of Metabolically Unhealthy Normal Weight in Humans. Cell Metab. 2017 Aug 1;26(2):292-300. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.07.008
Stefan N, Cusi K. A Global View of the Interplay between Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2022 (in press)