In a new study from the University of Southern California, researchers found a new way to treat fatty liver disease.
About 80 million Americans have fatty liver disease unrelated to alcohol abuse.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with obesity and diabetes and can lead to more severe liver damage such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Heart disease, colorectal cancer and breast cancer actually are the major causes of death in patients with fatty liver disease.
Several drugs in advanced stages of development have failed because of the complexity of the disease, low efficacy, or the toxicity of drugs.
Although several clinical trials were conducted in past decades, currently there is no FDA-approved pharmaceutical therapy for NASH.
In the study, the team explored the molecular mechanism in experimental NAFL/NASH. The project led to the discovery of a plausible therapeutic target gene, SH3BP5, also known as SAB.
The level of SAB determines the severity of liver damage. SAB leads to impaired mitochondrial function and an increase in toxic reactive oxygen species.
Interestingly, SAB gene activation and protein levels increase in a diet-induced fatty liver and correlate with the progression of the disease in experimental models and human fatty liver disease.
The team says they could prevent that whole progression by knocking out the SAB gene in the liver early on that were then fed a high-fat diet.
The long-term feeding of a high-fat, high-sugar diet causes obesity, diabetes and fatty liver diseases.
The researchers show just how much damage to the liver—from dietary choices—could be avoided through modest changes in behavior. They suggest that this is a really strong potential therapeutic target.
If you care about liver diseases, please read studies about common fatty liver disease may cause Alzheimer’s-like symptoms and findings of artificial sweetener may help reduce fatty liver disease.
For more information about fatty livers, please see recent studies about aerobic exercise could have the final say on fatty livers and results showing that dangerous liver disease may rise sharply in the US.
The study is published in Hepatology. One author of the study is Sanda Win, MD.
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