Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

In the liver cirrhosis network

13.05.2008
Gaining new insights into the processes of liver cirrhosis through systems biology methods

Scientists of the HepatoSys consortium, the network for the systems biology study of the liver cell (hepatocyte), have gained new insights into the processes of liver cirrhosis.

They found that hepatocytes affected by damage to the liver undergo a mutation and contribute actively to the chronic cicatrisation of the tissue. The findings of researchers working under Prof. Dr. Steven Dooley, Medical School in Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, pave the way to new perspectives regarding the treatment of the hitherto incurable liver disease.

Of all the body's organs, the liver has the unique ability to regenerate completely after having suffered damage either through injuries, toxic substances such as alcohol, certain medication or other liver damaging substances, provided the causes are eliminated. Alcoholism or infections with hepatitis B or C viruses do result in a lasting malfunction of the liver tissue, which impedes the regeneration process. The growth factor TGF-beta plays an important role both in the healing process and in the continuing chronic damage.

... more about:
»Organ »TGF-Beta »cirrhosis »hepatocyte »liver

After the organ has been damaged, TGF-beta becomes active and triggers signal transmission paths which eventually lead to the closing of the wound. However, if the damage is of a chronic nature, the growth factor changes from being a helper to being a harmful agent: its permanent activation and the excessive healing process lead to a changed architecture of the liver tissue. In place of functional hepatocytes there is an increasing occurrence of fibroblast-like cells which can be classified as connective tissue. Furthermore, there is an increased production of extracellular matrix, a form of grout, so to speak, for the intercellular space. The organ "scars over".

"With the help of Systems Biology, we want to find out what impact the excessive TGF-beta signal effect has on the hepatocyte", says Dooley, head of the Section for Molecular Alcohol Research in the Gastroenterology Department of the II. Medicinal Clinic in Mannheim. For this purpose, he and his team chose the co-called top-down approach: they cultivated primary (recently isolated) hepatocytes, stimulated them with TGF-beta and then examined which genes had been activated by this treatment. In doing so, they found that primarily the genes typical for fibroblasts became active. "The modelling of the experimental results and the subsequent testing of the predictions with laboratory animals showed that the lasting effect of TGF-beta leads to the hepatocytes losing their typical appearance and metamorphosing to fibroblast-like cells", explains the scientist.

The findings of the Mannheim HepatoSys-team come as a surprise and shine a completely new light onto liver cirrhosis. So far, scientists had assumed that only one cell type in the liver, the hepatic stellate cells, change into fibroblast-like tissue while the hepatocytes die off. These new insights allow a search for new ways of treating liver cirrhosis. At this point, the advancing disease is incurable and eventually leads to liver failure. At present, liver transplantation is the last resort.

Prof. Steven Dooley will speak on saturday, May 24nd, during the SBMC in Dresden about his work on TGF-beta induced signal paths in liver cells. The complete conference program and an online registration form can be found at http://www.sbmc08.de

Journalists are invited to attend the conference.

About the SBMC and HepatoSys
The second Conference on Systems Biology of Mammalian Cells (SBMC) will take place May 22 ? 24, 2008, in Dresden, Germany, and is organized by HepatoSys, the German Systems Biology Competence Network for the investigation of liver cells. HepatoSys was founded in 2004 by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in co-operation with the Project Management Jülich (PtJ). The research groups in this network work on an interdisciplinary consideration of all processes in the liver with special focus on the liver cell (hepatocyte). Scientists coming from completely different fields collaborate closely on computer modelling of the functions of the biological system. The objective is a virtual liver cell which would make it possible to reproduce model physiological processes in silico.

* Word formation consisting of Hepatocyte - liver cell - and Systems Biology

Dr. Ute Heisner | idw
Further information:
http://www.sbmc08.de

Further reports about: Organ TGF-Beta cirrhosis hepatocyte liver

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>