Study: Potential Targets Identified for Inhibiting Liver Disease Progression

NOVEMBER 07, 2018
Jennifer Barrett, Associate Editor
New research has identified potential targets to inhibit the progression of liver disease and prevent cancer, according to a study published in Science Immunology.
From 2000 to 2015, death rates for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the United States increased 31%, according to the CDC. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis can contribute to the development of liver cancer, which affects approximately 33,000 individuals in the United States each year.
For the study, scientists from the liver immunology research unit of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center evaluated the contribution of the type 3 cytokines interleukin (IL)-17A and IL-22 to the progression of liver fibrosis. Type 3 inflammation, which is characterized by the production of IL-17A and IL-22, is implicated in many inflammatory conditions of the gut and can be counteracted by regulatory T cells, but its contribution to liver fibrosis is poorly understood, according to the study.
By profiling the cytokines produced by intrahepatic lymphocytes (IHLs) from liver biopsies of patients with viral hepatitis and nonviral hepatitis, the researchers found that both type 3 cytokines can sensitize hepatic stellate cells (HSC) to the action of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, a cytokine that is produced during liver inflammation.

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