Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New animal model may lead to treatments for common liver disease

Date:
July 3, 2012
Source:
Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Summary:
Scientists have developed the laboratory opossum as a new animal model to study the most common liver disease in the nation -- afflicting up to 15 million Americans -- and for which there is no cure.

Scientists at Texas Biomed have developed the laboratory opossum as a new animal model to study the most common liver disease in the nation -- afflicting up to 15 million Americans -- and for which there is no cure.

Related Articles


The condition, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), resembles alcoholic liver disease, but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. The major feature of NASH is accumulation of fat in the liver, along with inflammation and functional damage. Most people with NASH feel well and are not aware that they have a liver problem. Nevertheless, NASH can progress to cirrhosis, in which the liver is permanently damaged and no longer able to work properly. NASH-related cirrhosis is the fourth most common indication for liver transplantation in the U.S.

NASH affects 2 to 5 percent of Americans -- roughly six million to 15 million people. An additional 15 to 30 percent of Americans have excess fat in their livers, but no inflammation or liver damage, a condition called "fatty liver" or the non-progressive form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The study, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr., and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.

"This is the type of model in which to develop mechanism-based therapies," writes Geoffrey C Farrell, M.D., of the Australian National University Medical School in Canberra, in a journal editorial.

Both NASH and NAFLD are becoming more common, possibly because of the greater number of Americans with obesity and its important health complications, type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart attack and stroke. In the past 10 years, the prevalence of obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in children. It was previously reported by other scientists that the prevalence of NAFLD and NASH in a cohort of middle-aged patients in San Antonio is 46 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

"It now seems likely that genetic factors, such as those important for diabetes and high cholesterol levels, are what determines why a small proportion of those with fatty liver develop NASH and its complications of cirrhosis and liver cancer," said Farrell.

In the new study, high responding opossums developed elevated cholesterol and fatty liver disease when fed a high cholesterol and high fat diet, whereas low responding opossums did not. High responders carry a mutated ABCB4 gene, which affects their ability to secrete excess cholesterol from the liver into bile which, in turn, transports the cholesterol to the intestines for excretion from the body. As a consequence, opossums with the mutated gene accumulate cholesterol in the liver and ultimately in the blood.

"We showed that the fatty livers of high responders contain a tremendous amount of cholesterol," said first author Jeannie Chan, Ph.D., of Texas Biomed. "The opossum is a new animal model for investigating the mechanism by which cholesterol mediates liver injury, which will lead to a better understanding of the role of dietary cholesterol in the development of NASH."

Co-authors on the study included Rampratap S. Kushwaha, Ph.D., Jane F. VandeBerg, and John L. VandeBerg, Ph.D., all of Texas Biomed; and Francis E. Sharkey, M.D., of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

Texas Biomed, formerly the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, is one of the world's leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Located on a 200-acre campus on the northwest side of San Antonio, Texas, the Institute partners with hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world, targeting advances in the fight against AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, parasitic infections and a host of other infectious diseases, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, psychiatric disorders, and problems of pregnancy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Chan, F. E. Sharkey, R. S. Kushwaha, J. F. VandeBerg, J. L. VandeBerg. Steatohepatitis in laboratory opossums exhibiting a high lipemic response to dietary cholesterol and fat. AJP: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2012; 303 (1): G12 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00415.2011

Cite This Page:

Texas Biomedical Research Institute. "New animal model may lead to treatments for common liver disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120703190121.htm>.
Texas Biomedical Research Institute. (2012, July 3). New animal model may lead to treatments for common liver disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120703190121.htm
Texas Biomedical Research Institute. "New animal model may lead to treatments for common liver disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120703190121.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) 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