Nav: Home

Closing in on liver fibrosis: Detailing the fibrosis process at unprecedented resolution

March 09, 2020

The human liver carries out a wealth of vital functions through highly coordinated processes involving multiple cell types. However, when the liver is damaged by pharmaceuticals, cholestasis or chronic fat accumulation caused by alcohol or metabolic dysfunction, the various cell types undergo pathological changes and liver function deteriorates. Extensive inflammation severely affects most cellular processes and scar tissue (liver fibrosis) gradually replaces normal liver tissue.

The global prevalence of both liver inflammation and liver fibrosis has taken on pandemic proportions, but still no effective treatment is available. Liver fibrosis may hence develop into cirrhosis and liver cancer with liver transplantation as last resort.

A much better understanding of the cellular dynamics in the healthy and fibrotic liver is therefore essential for the development of diagnostic tools and therapies to timely diagnose and reverse advanced liver fibrosis.

In this project, researchers from University of Southern Denmark used mouse models of liver fibrosis and single-cell RNA sequencing technology to investigate the cellular processes as they change during fibrosis development.

At unprecedented resolution, they have detailed the fibrotic process and the changing interactions between liver cell types. Importantly, top genes found to correlate with liver fibrogenesis in mice turned out to be very accurate in the diagnosis also of human fibrosis.

Key findings are now being validated in studies of human patients aimed at further exploring novel diagnostic markers and identifying possible molecular targets for pharmacological intervention in the fibrotic process.

This validation is part of a larger study, conducted by Center for Functional Genomics and Tissue Plasticity of patients undergoing bariatric surgery. For that study, the researchers are studying liver biopsies taken before and 18 months after surgery to understand, which cell types and genes change and how they change.
Authors and support:

The findings have been published in the journal Hepatology. Main authors are graduate student Mike K. Terkelsen and Head of Research, Kim Ravnskjær from Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark. Contributing authors are from same department and Department of Molecular Medicine, Department of Clinical Research, Department of Pathology, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Department of Nephrology, University of Southern Denmark.

This work was supported by the National Danish Research Foundation, the Fuhrmann Foundation, the Independent Research Fund Denmark, the European Commissions' Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action, the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes and University of Southern Denmark.

University of Southern Denmark

Related Liver Fibrosis Articles:

New insights into mechanism of therapy to reduce liver fat and prevent fibrosis
A team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has taken an important step forward in the goal of developing a potential treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Closing in on liver fibrosis: Detailing the fibrosis process at unprecedented resolution
Today, there is no effective way to treat liver fibrosis.
Liver fibrosis tied to specific heart failure, regardless of HIV or hepatitis C status
While there is an association between liver fibrosis and heart failure, the mechanisms for this association are currently unclear but may be of particular importance for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and/or hepatitis C, both of which are chronic infections that affect the liver and heart.
Researchers find test to ID children at higher risk for cystic fibrosis liver disease
A major multi-center investigation of children with cystic fibrosis has identified a test that allows earlier identification of those at risk for cystic fibrosis liver disease.
Yale studies suggest new path for reversing type-2 diabetes and liver fibrosis
In a pair of related studies, a team of Yale researchers has found a way to reverse type-2 diabetes and liver fibrosis in mice, and has shown that the underlying processes are conserved in humans.
Liver fibrosis 'off switch' discovered in mice
UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers identified several genetic switches, or transcription factors, that determine whether or not liver cells produce collagen -- providing a new therapeutic target for liver fibrosis.
Magnetic nanomaterials become an effective treatment against liver fibrosis
Fibrosis may affect different body organs. It develops as a reaction to long-time inflammation and is supposed to isolate the inflammation site from surrounding tissues.
Cystic fibrosis carriers are at increased risk for cystic fibrosis-related conditions
A University of Iowa study challenges the conventional wisdom that having just one mutated copy of the cystic fibrosis (CF) gene has no effects on a person's health.
Longevity protein SIRT6 also protects against fatty liver and fatty liver disease
SIRT6 regulates fat metabolism by activating another protein called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-alpha).
Immune cell identity crisis: What makes a liver macrophage a liver macrophage?
UC San Diego researchers investigated how a type of immune cell called a macrophage becomes specialized to the liver.
More Liver Fibrosis News and Liver Fibrosis Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at