Obese mice are more susceptible to liver abnormalities
Mice that were fed diets high in fat and sugar developed immune system abnormalities in their livers, including reduced numbers of natural killer T (NKT) cells. These diet-related changes may contribute to obesity-related liver disease, according to a new study. The study is published in the October 2005 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.
NKT cells originate in the thymus but accumulate in the liver where they regulate the production of cytokines (cell proteins). A previous study of leptin-deficient obese mice noted depleted levels of NKT cells. However, since obese humans have increased leptin levels, the researchers were not sure if their findings in mice were relevant to human fatty liver disease. To address this question, they studied a new diet-induced model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
David Greenberg | EurekAlert!
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