SYNERGIE Article: Making Your Liver Fat-Free

Patients with type 2 diabetes often also suffer from fatty liver disease. Usually, weight loss alone is not enough to reduce the buildup of fat in the liver. DZD researchers are currently working on new therapeutic approaches. Their work is presented in the current edition of the DZD magazine SYNERGIE.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common type of liver disease in the Western World. People with type 2 diabetes are particularly affected. Approximately 70 percent of people with the disease also have NAFLD, and up to 20 percent of them develop clinically significant fibrosis (a pathological increase of connective tissue in the liver resulting in a gradual loss of function).

Until now, fatty liver disease has been primarily treated using dieting. A three to five percent loss in body weight results in a significant reduction of fat in the liver. However, many people find it difficult to maintain their weight in the long term. There is still no generally recognized drug-based treatment recommendation for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. For this reason, several DZD locations are using clinical trials to investigate the effect on fatty liver disease of two drugs that have proven effective in the treatment of diabetes.

The first results are in: the active ingredient empagliflozin helps reduce fat in the liver of patients with well-managed type 2 diabetes

Link to the article (in German)

Link to the Full Edition of SYNERGIE (in German)


Research for health – under this motto, the German Centers for Health Research (DZG) report twice a year on projects and achievements in translational research in the DZG magazine SYNERGIE. The magazine for health research shows how interdisciplinary and networked research can help people achieve better health. The magazine is published in a print and an online version (

The German Centers for Health Research (DZG)
The goal of the German Centers for Health Research is translational research: the accelerated development of medical innovations. On the initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, six centers were founded between 2009 and 2011 to better understand the causes of widespread diseases and to transfer research results from the laboratory to practice more quickly. The centers are dedicated to the following diseases: Cancer (DKTK), neurodegenerative diseases (DZNE), infectious diseases (DZIF), diabetes (DZD), lung diseases (DZL) and cardiovascular diseases (DZHK).
To this end, a total of 36 medical faculties and university hospitals work together with around 90 non-university institutes of the Helmholtz Association, the Leibniz Association, the Max Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Society and departmental research institutes of the federal government. Furthermore, there are collaborations with scientists in Germany and internationally.