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 Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>