Spanish researchers determined that rats treated with recombinant ghrelin displayed a reduction in liver fibrosis. Ghrelin, a stomach hormone, reduced the amount of fibrogenic cells by 25% in the treated rodents.
Research further showed ghrelin prevented acute liver damage and reduced oxidative stress and inflammation in the animal models. Details of this study are published in the March issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
Liver diseases, such as hepatitis viruses, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, liver cancer), affect more than 5 million Americans with over 85,000 new cases of hepatitis reported annually, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization reports over 2 billion people worldwide have some type of viral hepatitis. Those living with chronic liver disease are subject to further damage caused by fibrosis, a scaring of the liver that can lead to liver failure and the ultimate need of transplantation.
"Currently, there are no effective anti-fibrotic therapies for patients with liver disease," said Ramón Bataller, M.D., from the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, Spain and lead author of the study. "Our aim was to determine if recombinant ghrelin could regulate the formation of fibrous tissue associated with chronic liver damage." Ghrelin is a growth hormone that plays a major role in the regulation of appetite and is primarily produced in the stomach. Prior studies have shown that ghrelin also has protective effects in other areas of the body including the pancreas, heart and gastrointestinal tract.
To assess chronic liver disease, the research team induced liver injury and fibrosis in male rats by prolonged bile duct ligation. The animals were separated into groups of 12 animals: group 1 received a saline solution, group 2 the rat recombinant ghrelin, and group 3 the ghrelin receptor agonist. Results showed that liver collagen increased 7-fold compared to control rats. Analysis revealed those animals treated with ghrelin displayed only mild collagen deposits with a decrease in fibrosis of roughly 40%.
Acute liver disease was studied in male rates by forming 3 experimental groups of 8 animals. The control group received saline and olive oil, group 2 was administered saline and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4 - to induce liver failure), and group 3 was given CCl4 along with ghrelin. In the group treated with ghrelin, researchers documented a marked reduction in liver cell damage and a decrease infiltration of inflammatory cells. Further examination found that ghrelin weakened the effects of on CCl4 on the pathways involved in hepatocyte survival and proliferation.
"In our study, we demonstrate that recombinant ghrelin regulates the fibrogenic response of the liver to acute and chronic disease. Ghrelin naturally produced in the body also inhibits the development of fibrosis in animal models and humans," said Dr. Bataller.
Researchers also analyzed ghrelin serum levels in blood samples from human patients who were asked to fast overnight. The samples collected included 67 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 24 with alcoholic hepatitis, and 24 healthy controls. In both patient groups with liver disease the ghrelin serum levels were significantly lower compared with the healthy control. Lower ghrelin serum levels were found in patients with advanced fibrosis than in those with mild fibrosis.
"Our results indicate that ghrelin may be useful in treating patients with liver disease and fibrosis by preventing scar tissue formation," suggested Dr. Bataller. In studies that tested ghrelin in patients with anorexia, gastroparesis (slow digestion caused by nerve or muscle damage), cachexia (physical wasting), and chronic heart failure the hormone was well tolerated, causing only a mild decrease in blood pressure. "Further studies should evaluate the safety and efficacy of ghrelin in patients with chronic liver disease," the authors concluded.
Article: "Ghrelin attenuates hepatocellular injury and liver fibrogenesis in rodents and influences fibrosis progression in humans." Montserrat Moreno, Javier Chaves, Pau Sancho-Bru, Fernando Ramalho, Leandra Ramalho, Maria L Mansego, Carmen Ivorra, Marlene Dominguez, Laura Conde, Cristina Millán, Montserrat Marí, Jordi Colmenero, Juan Lozano, Pedro Jares, Josep Vidal, Xavier Forns, Vicente Arroyo, Juan Caballería, Pere Ginès and Ramón Bataller. Hepatology; Published Online: March 1, 2010 (DOI: 10.1002/hep.23421); Print Issue Date: March 2010.
Media wishing to receive a PDF of the article may contact email@example.com
Hepatology is the premier publication in the field of liver disease, publishing original, peer-reviewed articles concerning all aspects of liver structure, function and disease. Each month, the distinguished Editorial Board monitors and selects only the best articles on subjects such as immunology, chronic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, genetic and metabolic liver diseases and their complications, liver cancer, and drug metabolism. Hepatology is published on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). For more information, please visit http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/106570044/home.
Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or www.interscience.wiley.com.
Dawn Peters | EurekAlert!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
11.12.2017 | Information Technology