Liver, an important metabolic organ gets fatty and inflamed by a poor diet and other risk factors leading to chronic liver damage known as cirrhosis of the liver. An in vitro study was conducted by a team of researchers from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Berlin to investigate how degenerative fattening and inflammation can impair the body's primary detoxification system.
‘The liver performs the job of detoxifying foreign substances that come along with food. Degenerative fattening and inflammation can impair the liver which is the body’s primary detoxification system.’
"The findings show that inflammatory processes, in particular, can disrupt the functioning of important enzymes in the liver cells," says Professor Dr. Andreas Hensel, President des BfR. "This seriously impairs the ability of the liver to perform its job of detoxifying foreign substances that are ingested with food."
It is not yet fully clear how a fatty and inflamed liver affects the liver's ability to identify and break down foreign substances like chemicals or medication. In cooperation with the Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch Institute for Clinical Pharmacology in Stuttgart, the BfR researchers treated human liver cells with fatty acids as well as inflammation-promoting and foreign substances. This enabled them to simulate the conditions in the liver and to document how the cells respond.
The main finding reported by the scientists in the Drug Metabolism and Disposition
journal was that, while mere fattening of the liver cells did not have a major impact on detoxification functions, this changed when they introduced inflammatory processes. It is therefore likely that the ability to render foreign substances harmless is significantly impaired in the presence of inflammation due to a fatty liver.