A study examines new pathways linking liver disease to changes in the central nervous system
Liver disease is often associated with "sickness behaviors," such as malaise, listlessness, anorexia, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. In cholestatic liver diseases (where bile production is impaired) such as primary biliary cirrhosis, fatigue occurs in up to 86 percent of patients. Previous studies have suggested that these symptoms originate from changes to the central nervous system (CNS), but little is understood about how these changes occur or the pathways involved.
In a study led by Steven M. Kerfoot of the Immunology Research Group at the University of Calgary in Canada and published in the January 2006 issue of Hepatology, researchers speculated that cholestatic liver damage may be associated with an immune response affecting the central nervous system, specifically the brain, which could represent a novel and potentially important pathway.
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