About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

New Therapy for Liver Fibrosis Discovered

by Sheela Philomena on April 29, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Font : A-A+

 New Therapy for Liver Fibrosis Discovered

Calcipotriol - a synthetic form of vitamin D could be used as a potential new treatment for liver disease, say scientists.

Liver fibrosis results from an excessive accumulation of tough, fibrous scar tissue and occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases.

Advertisement

In industrialized countries, the main causes of liver injury leading to fibrosis include chronic hepatitis virus infection, excess alcohol consumption and, increasingly, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

In a new study, Salk scientists discovered that calcipotriol deactivates the switch governing the fibrotic response in mouse liver cells, suggesting a potential new therapy for fibrotic diseases in humans.
Advertisement

"Because there are currently no effective drugs for liver fibrosis, we believe our findings would open a new door for treatment," said senior author Ronald M. Evans, a professor in Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory and lead researcher in the Institute's new Helmsley Center for Genomic Medicine.

The Salk study focused on a star-shaped "stellate" cell in the liver that serves as a beacon for damage. When called into action, stellate cells produce fibrotic proteins in an attempt to heal an injury. Under chronic stress, however, localized fibrosis expands, eventually leading to cirrhosis, increased risk of liver cancer, and the need for a liver transplant in advanced cases.

The Evans lab discovered a genetic switch through which vitamin D-related ligands such as calcitriol, a hormonally active form of the vitamin, can put the brakes on fibrosis.

"Preclinical results suggest the 'vitamin D brake' is highly efficacious and led us to believe that the time is right to consider a trial in the context of chronic liver disease," said Evans, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and holder of the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology.

Previous studies have shown a physiologic role for vitamin D in liver function, but "it was our discovery of high levels of vitamin D receptor (VDR) in the stellate cell that led us to consider it as a possible off switch for liver fibrosis," stated lead author Ning Ding, a research associate in the Gene Expression Laboratory.

"Current therapeutic approaches, which treat the symptoms of liver disease, don't stop liver fibrosis from progressing," said Michael Downes, a senior staff scientist in the Gene Expression Laboratory and co-corresponding author on the paper.

"In liver diseases where the underlying cause cannot be cured, progression to cirrhosis is currently inevitable in some people. What we have discovered is that by acting on the genome, VDR can simultaneously defend against multiple fibrotic activators. This is important because many different pro-fibrotic signaling pathways converge on the genome to affect their fibrotic response."

The Salk discovery that calcipotriol counters the fibrotic response in stellate cells illuminates a potentially safer, more effective strategy capable of neutralizing multiple convergent fibrotic triggers.

The Salk scientists say that clinical trials of the vitamin D analog for the treatment of liver fibrosis are being planned. The synthetic vitamin D analog is better than natural vitamin D, they said, for a couple of reasons.

First, natural vitamin D, which is found in small amounts in a few foods and produced in the body by exposure to sunlight, degrades quickly, while synthetic versions of vitamin D are less susceptible to breakdown. Second, too much natural vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia, or elevated calcium in the blood, which can lead to nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, muscle weakness and joint aches and pain.

The synthetic vitamin D analog, on the other hand, produces a strong response without adding calcium to the blood.

In addition, the researchers said that this new model for treating liver fibrosis may also be helpful in treating other diseases with a fibrotic component, including those of the lung, kidney and pancreas.

The study appeared in the journal Cell.

Source: ANI
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Turmeric: Magic Ingredient to Keep you Healthy in Winter
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Hepatitis A Reiki and Pranic Healing Liver Wilson's Disease Milk Thistle Current Treatments for Liver Cancer Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks? Fibroscan for Fatty Liver Cirrhosis and Fibrosis Retroperitoneal Fibrosis / Ormondīs Disease 

Recommended Reading
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general information about Alcoholic Liver Disease....
Calcium and Vitamin Supplements
Calcium and vitamin supplements are taken to provide the body with the ''required'' nutrients. ......
Lack of Vitamin D Exposure Interferes With Breast Cancer Treatment During Winter
Researchers suggest that lack of exposure to vitamin D during the winter months could be ......
Novel Drug Halts Liver Fibrosis
NADPH oxidase (NOX) inhibitor therapy halts liver fibrosis in animal model of liver disease, say ......
Current Treatments for Liver Cancer
Current Treatments for Liver Cancer (also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma) can result ...
Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India
Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver dysfunction worldwide and is...
Fibroscan for Fatty Liver Cirrhosis and Fibrosis
Recently, Fibroscan has incorporated the noninvasive Controlled Attenuation Parameter technique to e...
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. H...
Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks?
The risk of dying as a result of a living donor liver segment removal is between 0.2-2.0%. The risk ...
Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle is a resourceful natural plant which has many medicinal benefits. In herbal medication ...
Retroperitoneal Fibrosis / Ormondīs Disease
Retroperitoneal fibrosis or Ormond's disease a rare disorder occurs when extra fibrous tissue forms ...
Wilson's Disease
This is a rare inherited systemic disorder of copper metabolism, affecting the liver mainly before o...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use