Nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis: a protein that protects the liver


Approximately 25% of the world's population is affected by a known disease non-alcoholic fatty liver (hepatic steatosis); a pathology that is characterized by the accumulation of fat in liver cells, even if the patient has not experienced alcohol.

Thanks to the studies that a group of Institute of Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona), were able to identify one of the factors that protect against this disease, the protein Mitofusina 2. This investigation was published in the journal CELL the decrease of the levels of Mitofusina 2 in mice leads to the development of this disease.

Nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis is one of the most serious forms of liver disease since it is accompanied by inflammation. The decrease of the levels of Mitofusina 2 in mice leads to the development of this disease. Likewise, a remarkable improvement was achieved in NASH-affected mice, increasing levels of this protein using adenovirus, viruses modified to artificially express proteins, to mediate their expression.

The team led by Zorzano, a professor at the Faculty of Biology at the University of Barcelona and a researcher on the CIBERDEM program, has achieved remarkable improvement in the affected mice and it is explained that decreasing the levels of said protein in affected patients will prevent it.

This possible therapeutic target will allow the fight against non-alcoholic fatty liver for which there are currently no drugs that treat it.

The study was funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (formerly MINECO), the Government of Catalonia, the Carlos III Health Institute, CIBERDEM, the La Caixa Foundation and the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute.

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