Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brown University Research Team Finds Keys To Liver Development

Date:
June 23, 1999
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Researchers at Brown University have identified the primary signals that tell an embryo where and when a liver should appear and have used those signals to direct immature mouse cells to become liver cells and begin liver formation.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Researchers at Brown University have identified the primary signals that tell an embryo where and when a liver should appear and have used those signals to direct immature mouse cells to become liver cells and begin liver formation.

Related Articles


Understanding how to control both tissue growth and cell identity may lead to new disease-fighting methods that would rely on tissue regeneration and the ability to reprogram diseased cells into normal ones.

"This basic research won't translate into a cure tomorrow, but opens the way to think about new mechanisms of dealing with certain tissue degenerative diseases, particularly of the liver," said Ken Zaret, professor of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry in the Brown School of Medicine. "The liver is a critical organ and a target for viral hepatitis, alcoholism, metabolic diseases and cancer."

The experiments were conducted using undifferentiated cells, called endoderm cells, removed from the inner layer of mouse embryos. In the developing mouse, these endoderm cells have the potential to become a liver, pancreas, or other gut organs, based on the signals received.

In the June 18 issue of Science, Zaret and colleagues describe the signaling mechanisms that initiate these unspecialized embryonic cells to begin liver formation. The researchers developed the techniques to sift through tiny fragments of tissue to identify the relevant signaling factors. In doing so, they found that the fibroblast growth factors FGF1 and FGF2, and to some extent FGF8, begin the liver development process by differentiating the multi-potential endoderm cells into liver cells. FGF8 also helps prompt the cells to begin growing and forming liver tissue.

"Three signals are being conveyed to make sure that the liver appears at a specific time and place," Zaret said. "Thus there is a high degree of FGF signaling redundancy during liver specification."

Scientists have known that FGF signaling is important elsewhere in the body, where it prompts organ growth after initial specification by other growth factors. This study is the first to associate FGF signals with the initial specification of organs derived from gut endoderm such as the liver, pancreas, lung, stomach and thyroid. Zaret and colleagues hope to conduct further research to test whether these liver-formation signaling mechanisms influence the initial development of other cell types.

In the course of their work, the researchers isolated endoderm cells that are the explicit forerunners to the liver.

"We are working with the true embryological precursors to the liver, allowing us to study how cells go down that particular pathway," Zaret said. "With this lineage of definitive precursor cells, we have a chance of advancing the field of stem cell biology."

The study's lead author is graduate student Joonil Jung. The other authors are Zaret, former graduate student Minghua Zheng, and Mitchell Goldfarb, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Brown University Research Team Finds Keys To Liver Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990623062540.htm>.
Brown University. (1999, June 23). Brown University Research Team Finds Keys To Liver Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990623062540.htm
Brown University. "Brown University Research Team Finds Keys To Liver Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990623062540.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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