Scientists have shed light on how the liver repairs itself with research that could help develop drugs to treat liver disease
Scientists have shed light on how the liver repairs itself with research that could help develop drugs to treat liver disease.
Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have discovered how to enhance the production of key cells needed to repair damaged liver tissue.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, could help heal livers affected by diseases such as cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis.
Scientists were able to unpick the process of how different cells in the liver are formed.
When the liver is damaged it produces too many bile duct cells and not enough cells called hepatocytes, which the liver needs to repair damaged tissue.
They found they could increase the number of hepatocyte cells – which detoxify the liver – by encouraging these cells to be produced instead of bile duct cells.
Understanding how liver cells are formed could help to develop drugs to encourage the production of hepatocytes to repair liver tissue. This could eventually ease the pressure on waiting lists for liver transplants.