Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Liver disease 'shrunk' by blood-pressure drug

02.06.2009
A blood-pressure medicine has been shown to reverse the effects of early-stage liver failure in some patients.

Newcastle University researchers analysed a small clinical trial of losartan, a drug normally prescribed for hypertension, on 14 patients in Spain, who had Hepatitis C.

The illness was at an advanced stage causing fibrosis - scarring in the liver - which would usually have progressed to liver failure.

Half of the patients in the trial saw the scars in their liver shrink allowing the organ to repair itself.

Professor Derek Mann from Newcastle University said: "At the moment we have no proven effective way of treating people with chronic liver disease other than transplantation. This early stage trial has shown that we can shrink liver scarring in some patients and shows promise for a treatment that could make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people."

The team whose work is published today in Gastroenterology, say this early stage trial is promising and they now want to carry out several much larger studies initially involving patients with liver disease caused by obesity and then later alcohol, hereditary and autoimmune diseases.

Mechanism

Liver damage, known as fibrosis, is caused by the unwanted accumulation of excess fibrous connective tissue which is produced and maintained by a specialised cell, the liver myofibroblast.

In chronic liver disease a signalling pathway is created that instructs the liver myofibroblast to stay alive and proliferate. It is this pathway that then causes scar tissue to accumulate, creating the liver damage.

Work carried out in rat and mouse models allowed the researchers to study what was happening inside the liver when losartan, an angiotensin II receptor antagonist drug, was present.

Researchers believe that the drug blocks the signalling pathway so that the liver myofibroblasts die, removing the source of scar tissue. As the scar tissue breaks up, the damaged area of the liver is repaired by the body.

In this research, funded by the Medical Research Council and the British Liver Trust, the Newcastle University researchers discovered a biological marker, NF-kB, was crucial for the activities of scar-forming cells.

Tests on their livers revealed that, before treatment with losartan, half of the patients had a high level of the biomarker NF-kB. After treatment, the level fell indicating that losartan is able to switch off NF-kB with the result that scars are no longer produced or maintained, but instead shrink.

Professor Mann said: "By measuring the amount of active NF-kB in the liver from a biopsy sample, we may be able to tell which patients will benefit from treatment with losartan or similar drugs such as ACE inhibitors. This may prove to be a new treatment for up to half of all liver patients."

The trial was carried out with patients at the Liver Unit, Institut Clinic de Malalties Digestives i Mataboliques, Hospital Clinic, Insitut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain.

People with liver disease caused by being overweight – though fatty liver disease or NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis) – and who are interested in taking part in a future clinical trial should leave their details on tel: 0191 2231900

Paper: Angiotensin II activates IkB kinase phosphorylation of Re1A at Ser536 to promote myofibroblast survival and liver fibrosis

Authors: Fiona Oakley, Victoria Teoh, Gemma Ching-A-Sue, Ramon Bataller, Jordi Colmenero, Julie R Jonsson, Aristides G Eliopoulos, Martha R Watson, Derek Manas, Derek A Mann.

Karen Bidewell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

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: 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...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

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

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>