Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rutgers, Massachusetts General investigators find novel way to prevent drug-induced liver injury

16.01.2012
Blocking cell-to-cell communication may prevent liver damage and improve drug safety

Rutgers University and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators have developed a novel strategy to protect the liver from drug-induced injury and improve associated drug safety.

In a report receiving advance online publication in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the team reports that inhibiting a type of cell-to-cell communication can protect against damage caused by liver-toxic drugs such as acetaminophen.

"Our findings suggest that this therapy could be a clinically viable strategy for treating patients with drug-induced liver injury," said Suraj Patel a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for Engineering in Medicine at MGH and the paper's lead author. "This work also has the potential to change the way drugs are developed and formulated, which could improve drug safety by providing medications with reduced risk of liver toxicity."

Drug-induced liver injury is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. and is also the most frequent reason for abandoning drugs early in development or withdrawing them from the market. Liver toxicity limits the development of many therapeutic compounds and presents major challenges to both clinical medicine and to the pharmaceutical industry.

Since no pharmaceutical strategies currently exist for preventing drug-induced liver injury, treatment options are limited to discontinuing the offending drug, supportive care and transplantation for end-stage liver failure.

The researchers investigated an approach that targets a liver's gap junctions – hollow multimolecular channels that connect neighboring cells and allow direct communication between coupled cells. In the heart, gap junctions propagate the electrical activity required for synchronized contraction, but their role in the liver has not been well understood

Recent work has shown that gap junctions spread immune signals from injured liver cells to surrounding undamaged cells, amplifying inflammation and injury. The current study examined inhibiting the action of liver-specific gap junctions to limit drug-induced liver injury.

The researchers first used a strain of genetically mutated mice that lack a particular liver-specific gap junction. The mice were administered various liver-toxic drugs such as acetaminophen, a commonly used medication best known under the Tylenol brand name. Acetaminophen overdoses are the most frequent cause of drug-induced liver injury.

Compared to normal mice, those lacking liver gap junctions were fully protected against liver damage, inflammation and death caused by administration of liver-toxic drugs. The team then identified a small-molecule inhibitor of liver gap junctions that, when given with or even after the toxic drugs, protected the livers of normal mice against injury and prevented their death.

"This finding is very exciting and potentially very powerful from a number of basic science and clinical application standpoints, which we are continuing to explore," said Martin Yarmush, senior author of the report and the Paul and Mary Monroe Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers. "However, before we can think about applying this approach to patients, we need to know more about any off-target effects of gap junction inhibitors and better understand the long-term ramifications of temporarily blocking liver-specific gap junction channels."

Additionally, cell culture experiments indicated that blocking gap junctions limited the spread through liver cells of damaging free radicals and oxidative stress, suggesting a possible mechanism for the observed protection.

Other co-authors of the study are Jack Milwid, Kevin King, Stefan Bohr, Arvin Iracheta-Vellve, Matthew Li, Antonia Vitalo and Biju Parekkadan of MGH, and Rohit Jindal of Rutgers. The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Carl Blesch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rutgers.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cells adapt ultra-rapidly to zero gravity

28.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

An Atom Trap for Water Dating

28.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>