A group of Associate Professor Tomoko Fujita and Professor Shu Narumiya of Kyoto University discovered that hepatic stellate cells, which are present in the liver at a rate of 5%, are involved in the inflammation found in hepatitis.It is said that it is an achievement that will lead to the fundamental treatment of hepatitis that also leads to liver cancer.
The causes of hepatitis include excessive intake of alcohol and lipids, and viruses, and there is a risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer.Fulminant hepatitis can also be fatal.For these reasons, research has continued to seek treatments for hepatitis.The function of hepatic stellate cells has been attracting attention in recent years.It is widely known to occupy 5% of the cells that make up the liver and store vitamin A, and is also involved in the repair of injured liver.Although it has been pointed out that the excessive work leads to the onset of hepatitis and cirrhosis, no direct evidence has been obtained.
To investigate the details of how hepatic stellate cells work, the group developed acute hepatitis by injecting toxins into mice.At this time, it was discovered that the symptoms were dramatically improved by administering a substance that acts on the receptors of hepatic stellate cells.It was also found that when the same treatment was applied to mice that do not have this receptor, the disease became severe.From this, it became clear that hepatic stellate cells control inflammation of the liver.
The fact that hepatitis symptoms can be alleviated by stimulating the receptors of hepatic stellate cells will be a great guide for future treatment development.In this study, the function of hepatic stellate cells in acute hepatitis was clarified, but in the future, we will investigate whether similar effects can be expected in chronic hepatitis.Effective treatment in the early stages of hepatitis will dramatically reduce the number of patients who progress to cirrhosis.
Source:[Kyoto University] Vitamin A-storing hepatic stellate cells controlled inflammation of the liver-expected to prevent and develop treatments for hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer-