Scientists create liver to fight chronic disease

Lthe researcher University of Yale University, USAcreating a functional liver in living mice that will help them find human-specific mechanisms to regulate cholesterol And has the potential to treat chronic liver disease that affects tens of millions of people.

Chronic liver disease affects more than 1.5 billion people worldwide

The study was published in cell. Chronic liver disease, such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease, cancer, viral hepatitisfibrosis and cancer, They affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide. However, studying liver disease in animal models has been difficult. For example, the mouse liver functions differently than humans.

“In the liver, various types of human cells They speak their own language,” said lead author Richard Flavel. “Mice and human cells speak different languages, but we have allowed human liver cells to speak their own language in living mice. “

Stem cells create the liver

For the study, the team of scientists created complete human livers in a mouse model using progenitor stem cells and mature cells, called hepatocytes, derived from human livers. The humanized liver evolved a similar size-adjusting shape and performed similar cellular functions to the liver, the researchers say. Humanity healthy. Cellular function in the liver can also be manipulated to model human fibrosis and non-fatty liver disease. alcoholic.

liver function and liver disease

The researchers also found that the liver’s basic metabolism is controlled by the activity of endothelial cells, which line the blood vessels that supply the liver. These endothelial cells secrete a signaling molecule called Wnt that regulates the transport of cholesterol to liver cells to synthesize bile acids, they say.transportation cholesterol Hepatocytes are an important mechanism for reducing excess cholesterol levels in human blood.

The humanized liver model is immediately available to pharmaceutical companies seeking to assess safety, the researchers said. drug Experimental drugs designed to treat chronic diseases. “However, our long-term goal is to find ways to predict, prevent And treat all liver diseases that take a huge toll on people,” the authors said. No.

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