Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Pittsburgh Researchers Identify Immune System Process That Could Halt Progress Of Cirrhosis In Humans

Date:
April 19, 1999
Source:
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Summary:
Results of animal laboratory studies conducted at the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute dispel the notion that interleukin-6 (IL-6) causes liver fibrosis or cirrhosis and instead suggest that it is important to the liver's recovery. So encouraged is the research team by these findings, being presented at today's sessions of Experimental Biology '99, that it plans to initiate further studies to determine if IL-6 can slow liver disease progression in patients.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18 -- Results of animal laboratory studies conducted at the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute dispel the notion that interleukin-6 (IL-6) causes liver fibrosis or cirrhosis and instead suggest that it is important to the liver's recovery. So encouraged is the research team by these findings, being presented at today's sessions of Experimental Biology '99, that it plans to initiate further studies to determine if IL-6 can slow liver disease progression in patients.

Related Articles


IL-6 is a cytokine, a chemical substance secreted by immune system cells. Because it is elevated in a number of diseases, including those of the liver, its presence has been thought to be a contributing factor to, or a feature of, the disease process. The University of Pittsburgh's research indicates the immune system's release of IL-6 must be part of an effort to preserve hepatocytes, or liver cells, and are not an accomplice to their demise. In cirrhosis, the liver becomes inflamed and takes on a lumpy appearance as hepatocytes die, but other cells, such as fibroblasts and bile duct cells, proliferate.

The Pitt researchers made their discovery, an outcome that proved their own study hypothesis wrong, after a series of experiments with groups of mice either capable or incapable of producing IL-6. A model of cirrhosis was created by tying off the common bile duct. The researchers assumed the mice that could make IL-6 would fare worse, but in fact the opposite was true. The mice that could not produce IL-6 had more pathological and clinical evidence of cirrhosis, including fewer hepatocytes and higher bilirubin levels, and had a mortality rate twice that of the IL-6-producing mice.

"IL-6 is important to maintain hepatocyte mass, liver architecture and function during persistent injury," reports Tsukasa Ezure, M.D., the study's first author.

The team is designing studies whereby adult patients with various liver diseases, including sclerosing cholangitis and biliary cirrhosis, or children with biliary atresia, would receive doses of growth factors, such as IL-6, or another substance called hepatic growth factor, to determine if the progression of their disease could be halted or even improved.

"Concerning IL-6, the concept is correct, at least in animals. We're optimistic as we initiate clinical studies, but there's always concern when you take the leap from animal laboratory to the clinical setting," says Anthony J. Demetris, M.D., senior investigator of the study, who is professor of pathology and director of transplant pathology at the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to Drs. Ezure and Demetris, other authors include: Toshiki Sakamoto, M.D.; John G. Lunz, III; Shigeki Yokomuro, M.D.; Hirokazu Tsuji, M.D., Ph.D.; Noriko Murase, M.D.; and John J. Fung, M.D., Ph.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "University Of Pittsburgh Researchers Identify Immune System Process That Could Halt Progress Of Cirrhosis In Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990419095549.htm>.
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (1999, April 19). University Of Pittsburgh Researchers Identify Immune System Process That Could Halt Progress Of Cirrhosis In Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990419095549.htm
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "University Of Pittsburgh Researchers Identify Immune System Process That Could Halt Progress Of Cirrhosis In Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990419095549.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins