Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New genetic screen paves the way for long-sought treatments for liver disease

Date:
April 11, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Chronic liver failure is a major health problem that causes about one million deaths each year. A new study reveals a new type of screen for identifying genes that promote liver repair in mouse models of liver disease. The study shows that the MKK4 gene could be a promising therapeutic target to enhance liver regeneration and provides a blueprint for future studies aimed at discovering new therapies for liver disease.

Chronic liver failure is a major health problem that causes about one million deaths around the world each year. A study published April 11th by Cell Press in the journal Cell reveals a new type of screen for identifying genes that promote liver repair in mouse models of both acute and chronic liver disease. The study shows that the MKK4 gene could be a promising therapeutic target to enhance liver regeneration and provides a blueprint for future studies aimed at discovering new therapies for liver disease.

"It is now conceivable to develop specific pharmacological inhibitors of MKK4 in order to treat patients with liver disease," says senior study author Lars Zender of University Hospital Tuebingen. "Such treatment strategies are urgently needed in the clinic, as currently the only curative treatment option for patients with end-stage liver disease is liver transplantation, and the number of donors is limited."

Chronic liver disease is caused by infections with hepatitis B or C virus, as well as alcohol abuse and malnutrition. Typically, the liver can repair itself after injury by increasing the production of cells called hepatocytes, but serious disease can interfere with this process and ultimately result in liver failure.

To identify potential targets for treating liver disease, Zender and his team developed an unbiased screen to search for genes that regulate liver regeneration in animal disease models. After interfering with the expression of hundreds of genes in mouse livers, they found that MKK4 inhibition increased the production and survival of hepatocytes after acute and chronic liver damage, resulting in healthier livers and an increase in the long-term survival of mice. Moreover, MKK4 inhibition increased the survival and long-term viability of hepatocytes in culture, offering a much-needed strategy for improving cell transplantation in patients with liver disease.

"Based on previous studies, we would not have guessed that MKK4 would strongly influence liver regeneration," Zender says. "Our study shows that genetic screens are a powerful way to search for genes, without any preconceived notions, to identify therapeutic targets that can be used to enhance the regenerative capacity of tissues."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Torsten Wuestefeld, Marina Pesic, Ramona Rudalska, Daniel Dauch, Thomas Longerich, Tae-Won Kang, Tetyana Yevsa, Florian Heinzmann, Lisa Hoenicke, Anja Hohmeyer, Anna Potapova, Ina Rittelmeier, Michael Jarek, Robert Geffers, Maren Scharfe, Frank Klawonn, Peter Schirmacher, Nisar P. Malek, Michael Ott, Alfred Nordheim, Arndt Vogel, Michael P. Manns, Lars Zender. A Direct In Vivo RNAi Screen Identifies MKK4 as a Key Regulator of Liver Regeneration. Cell, Volume 153, Issue 2, 389-401, 11 April 2013 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.03.026

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "New genetic screen paves the way for long-sought treatments for liver disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411123847.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, April 11). New genetic screen paves the way for long-sought treatments for liver disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411123847.htm
Cell Press. "New genetic screen paves the way for long-sought treatments for liver disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130411123847.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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