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 Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
28.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care

nachricht Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>