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Hope for transplant patients as study finds key to organ scarring

Date:
November 10, 2013
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Patients with damaged organs could be helped by new treatments after scientists have discovered how tissues scar. Researchers say that the finding could pave the way for new drugs and eventually reduce the number of patients on organ transplant waiting lists.

Patients with damaged organs could be helped by new treatments after scientists have discovered how tissues scar. Researchers say that the finding could pave the way for new drugs and eventually reduce the number of patients on organ transplant waiting lists.

Fibrotic diseases occur in many tissues within the body -- including the liver, lung or kidneys -- and have a range of causes including viruses or toxins.

Scarring control

Experts say that the main source of scar tissue is found in specialised cells called myofibroblasts.

The study discovered that a molecule on these cells is a key regulator of fibrotic disease.

Scientists say that the molecule -- called alpha v integrin -- is a critical switch involved in turning on the myofibroblast cells to make scar tissue.

Regulating molecule

The team studied specially bred mice with fibrosis to see if removing the alpha v integrin molecule on myofibroblasts would reduce the amount of scar tissue in their organs.

Researchers found that when they removed alpha v integrin from these cells, the mice were protected from fibrosis of the liver, lung and kidneys.

They also found that when they treated the mice with a new experimental drug designed to block alpha v integrins, the animals were protected from liver and lung fibrosis.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Hope for transplant patients as study finds key to organ scarring." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131110184408.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2013, November 10). Hope for transplant patients as study finds key to organ scarring. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131110184408.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Hope for transplant patients as study finds key to organ scarring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131110184408.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

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