A fatty liver refers to an abnormal accumulation of fat within liver parenchymal cells.
Alcohol, at least in industrialised countries, is the most common cause of fatty liver. Alcohol is a hepatotoxin that alters mitochondrial and microsomal function.
Increased free fatty acid synthesis, diminished triglyceride utilisation, decreased fatty acid oxidation, a block in lipoprotein excretion, and enhanced lipolysis - thus increasing delivery and uptake of free fatty acids - have all been indicated in alcohol-induced fatty liver.
Fatty change in the liver is universal 3 to 7 days after a large amount of alcohol is consumed. It lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.