Study Reveals Estrogen’s Protection Against Fatty Liver

Study Reveals Estrogen's Protection Against Fatty Liver
Study Reveals Estrogen's Protection Against Fatty Liver
Study Reveals Estrogen's Protection Against Fatty Liver
Study Reveals Estrogen's Protection Against Fatty Liver

Study Reveals Estrogen’s Protection Against Fatty Liver

Study Reveals Estrogen’s Protection Against Fatty Liver

Study Reveals Estrogen’s Protection Against Fatty Liver

New research from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet sheds light on how oestrogen shields against MASLD, a rapidly developing fatty liver disease prevalent during the obesity epidemic. Published in Molecular Systems Biology, the study unveils a potential treatment for fatty liver disease and liver cancer.

Understanding MASLD: A Result of the Obesity Epidemic

The global surge in obesity has led to a significant rise in fatty liver disease, wherein excess fat accumulates in liver cells. Termed MASLD (metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease) since last year, it poses severe risks, potentially progressing to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Previous research suggests that up to one in three adults may be affected by some degree of MASLD, predominantly men.

Oestrogen’s Protective Mechanism Until Menopause

Women enjoy natural protection against MASLD until menopause, attributed to the female sex hormone oestrogen. However, the underlying mechanism behind this safeguard has remained elusive. Claudia Kutter, senior researcher at Karolinska Institutet, led a study illuminating this protective effect.

Through genetic analyses of mice fed a high-fat diet, researchers identified TEAD1, a key protein regulating fat absorption in liver cells. Blocking TEAD1 mitigated fat accumulation in liver cells, a promising discovery for potential treatment. Mice treated with oestrogen exhibited reduced TEAD1 activity and less fat accumulation in the liver.

Development of a New Drug

Building on these findings, researchers tested blocking TEAD1 in human liver cells with promising results. Serendipitously, a pharmaceutical company’s development of an anti-cancer drug targeting TEAD1 allowed researchers to validate their hypothesis. Despite TEAD1’s involvement in cancer, researchers remain optimistic, suggesting early TEAD1 blockade may prevent liver cancer development.

Clinical Trials and Future Directions

The pharmaceutical company plans clinical trials of the drug for fatty liver disease protection, while Karolinska Institutet researchers continue exploring novel treatment approaches. Their focus includes early disease detection and personalized treatments based on gender and hormonal status.

In conclusion, this research offers hope for combating fatty liver disease and liver cancer, underscoring the importance of understanding hormonal influences and pursuing targeted therapies.

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