Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fatty liver disease and scarring have strong genetic component

02.10.2015

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say that hepatic fibrosis, which involves scarring of the liver that can result in dysfunction and, in severe cases, cirrhosis and cancer, may be as much a consequence of genetics as environmental factors. The findings are published online in the journal Gastroenterology.

"The most common known causes of hepatic fibrosis have been viral hepatitis C infections, alcohol abuse, poor diet and obesity and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, which resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol," said first author Rohit Loomba, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.


This is a micrograph of an inflamed fatty liver. White indicates areas of fat; red are hepatocytes or liver cells. Bluish areas are fibrotic strands.

Image courtesy of James Heilman, MD

"We found, however, that hepatic fibrosis and steatosis (infiltration of liver cells with fat) are strong genetic traits. At around 50 percent heritability, they're more genetic than body mass index."

Loomba and colleagues performed a cross-sectional analysis of 60 pairs of twins residing in Southern California. Forty-two pairs were monozygotic or identical, meaning they developed from a single fertilized egg that split to form two embryos. Eighteen were dizygotic or fraternal, developing from two different eggs, each fertilized by separate sperm cells.

Using two advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques that quantify fat content in the liver and liver stiffness (a measure of fibrosis), the researchers found that 26 of the 120 participants had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can be a precursor to development of more serious conditions. Hepatic steatosis and liver fibrosis correlated strongly with monozygotic twins, but not with dizygotic pairs.

"This evidence that hepatic steatosis and hepatic fibrosis are heritable traits has major implications," said Loomba. "It means that we can now look for the relevant genes as potential therapeutic targets."

Loomba said the research team plans to expand their research to include the role of the microbiome - the collective genomes of the microorganisms that reside within and on humans, and which also indicates a degree of heritability.

Hepatic steatosis and fibrosis are among the hottest areas in research and medicine at the moment, according to Loomba, with more than a dozen clinical trials currently underway. NAFLD, which is characterized by hepatic steatosis, is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States, affecting 80 to 100 million Americans, with 18 million believed to have the more serious NASH.

###

Co-authors include Nicholas Schork, and Karen E. Nelson, J. Craig Venter Institute; Chi-Hua Chen, Ricki Bettencourt, Ana Bhatt, Brandon Ang, Phirum Nguyen, Carolyn Hernandez, Lisa Richards, Joanie Salotti, Steven Lin, Ekihiro Seki, Claude B. Sirlin, and David A. Brenner, all at UC San Diego.

Funding support for this research came, in part, from the American Gastroenterological Association Foundation, a T. Franklin Williams Scholarship Award, Atlantic Philanthropies, Inc., the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Association of Specialty Professors and the American Gastroenterological Association (grant K23-DK090303).

Media Contact

Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163

 @UCSanDiego

http://www.ucsd.edu 

Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Light beam replaces blood test during heart surgery
28.02.2017 | University of Central Florida

nachricht Cells adapt ultra-rapidly to zero gravity
28.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

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 >>>