Research discovers new drug to treat liver disease

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Globally, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common form of chronic liver disease that affects children and adults and is linked to the rise in obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

In a recent study from Rutgers University, scientists found that a hormone that triggers puberty and controls fertility in humans might be developed as a treatment for NAFLD.

The study provides powerful evidence that a modified version of the naturally occurring hormone kisspeptin can be used to treat NAFLD.

NAFLD is known as a “silent” disease because it starts off with few or no symptoms. It begins with the accumulation of fat in the liver, resulting in a condition known as “fatty liver.”

As the disease worsens, the liver becomes inflamed, resulting in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This is followed by fibrosis and cirrhosis, where the liver becomes scarred and irreversibly damaged.

A subset of NASH patients with cirrhosis will also develop liver cancer. Currently, there are no approved therapeutics to treat NASH.

In the study, researchers found kisspeptin plays key roles in pubertal development and maintaining reproductive function and is linked to appetite and sexual attraction.

The researchers fed mice a high-fat, high-sugar “Western” diet to induce obesity and NAFLD. The study showed that kisspeptin given to these mice protected them from the development of fatty liver, NASH and fibrosis.

These experiments uncover a powerful relationship between kisspeptin and the reduction of liver fat and fibrosis.

This work shows the kisspeptin receptor signaling pathway has a potential therapeutic role in NAFLD.

It does this by protecting against the development of fat in the liver and reducing inflammation and fibrosis. As such, it has the potential to favorably impact the health and lives of millions of patients around the globe.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about eating nuts linked to lower risk of chronic kidney disease and death, and green Mediterranean diet could cut fatty liver disease by 50%.

For more information about liver health, please see recent studies about how to fight against fatty liver, and results showing diabetes drug metformin may reverse liver inflammation.

The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and conducted by Moshmi Bhattacharya et al.

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