Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boosting cell production could help treat liver disease

Date:
March 4, 2012
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Scientists have shed light on how the liver repairs itself with research that could help develop drugs to treat liver disease.

Liver with liver stem cells in green.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Edinburgh

Scientists have shed light on how the liver repairs itself with research that could help develop drugs to treat liver disease.

Related Articles


Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have discovered how to enhance the production of key cells needed to repair damaged liver tissue.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, could help heal livers affected by diseases such as cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis.

Scientists were able to unpick the process of how different cells in the liver are formed.

When the liver is damaged it produces too many bile duct cells and not enough cells called hepatocytes, which the liver needs to repair damaged tissue.

They found they could increase the number of hepatocyte cells -- which detoxify the liver -- by encouraging these cells to be produced instead of bile duct cells.

Understanding how liver cells are formed could help to develop drugs to encourage the production of hepatocytes to repair liver tissue. This could eventually ease the pressure on waiting lists for liver transplants.

Prof Stuart Forbes, Associate Director at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, who is a consultant hepatologist and was the academic leader of the study, said "Liver disease is on the increase in the UK and is one of the top five killers. Increasing numbers of patients are in need of liver transplants, but the supply of donated organs is not keeping pace with the demand. If we can find ways to encourage the liver to heal itself then we could ease the pressure on waiting lists for liver transplants."

Liver disease is the fifth biggest killer in the UK. There are almost 500 people waiting for a liver transplant, compared to just over 300 fiver years ago.

The production of hepatocyte cells was increased by altering the expression of certain genes in early stage liver cells.

Dr Luke Boulter, of the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine and first author on the paper, said: "This research helps us know how to increase numbers of cells that are needed for healthy liver function and could pave the way for finding drugs that help liver repair. Understanding the process in which cells in the liver are formed is key in looking at ways to repair damaged liver tissue."

Dr Rob Buckle, head of regenerative medicine at the MRC, said: "Liver transplants have saved countless lives over the years, but demand will inevitably outstrip supply and in the long term we need to look beyond replacing damaged tissues to exploiting the regenerative potential of the human body. The MRC continues to invest heavily across the breadth of approaches that might deliver the promise of regenerative medicine, and this study opens up the possibility of applying our increasing knowledge of stem cell biology to stimulate the body's own dormant repair processes as a basis for future therapy."

The study was carried out in collaboration with the University's MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow and the K.U. Leuven in Belgium.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Luke Boulter, Olivier Govaere, Tom G Bird, Sorina Radulescu, Prakash Ramachandran, Antonella Pellicoro, Rachel A Ridgway, Sang Soo Seo, Bart Spee, Nico Van Rooijen, Owen J Sansom, John P Iredale, Sally Lowell, Tania Roskams, Stuart J Forbes. Macrophage-derived Wnt opposes Notch signaling to specify hepatic progenitor cell fate in chronic liver disease. Nature Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nm.2667

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Boosting cell production could help treat liver disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120304141850.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2012, March 4). Boosting cell production could help treat liver disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120304141850.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Boosting cell production could help treat liver disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120304141850.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
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