Researchers may have found a new treatment target for treating fatty liver disease. The researchers discovered that increasing the levels of the fat hormone Neuregulin 4 (Nrg4) protected liver cells from metabolic stress in mice. Loss of this hormone had the opposite effect; mouse livers deteriorated and progressed to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, more quickly. The findings led the researchers to believe that Nrg4 may be an effective target for therapeutic intervention. Fatty liver disease represents a spectrum of disorders, ranging from relatively harmless benign fatty liver to potentially life-threatening NASH—which results in chronic inflammation, liver injury and fibrosis, increasing the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
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Read the full article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation: Hepatic neuregulin 4 signaling defines an endocrine checkpoint for steatosis-to-NASH progression
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