Navigation Links
Largest ever genetic study of liver function could point the way to new treatments
Date:10/16/2011

Researchers have identified a large number of areas in the human genetic code that are involved in regulating the way in which the liver functions, in a new study of over 61,000 people, published today in the journal Nature Genetics.

The work is an international collaboration led by Imperial College London and it identifies 42 genetic regions associated with liver function, 32 of which had not been linked to liver function before. The work should lead to a better understanding of precisely what goes wrong when the liver ceases to work normally. Ultimately, it could point the way to new treatments that can improve the function of the liver and help to prevent liver damage.

The liver is the body's largest internal organ and the British Liver Trust estimates that around two million people in the UK have a liver problem at any one time. The liver carries out hundreds of different tasks, including making proteins and blood clotting factors, and helping with digestion and energy release. It also purifies the blood of bacteria, and of the by-products of digestion, alcohol and drugs.

In the new genome-wide association study, the researchers compared the genetic makeup of over 61,000 people, in order to identify areas of the genetic code that were associated with liver function.

The team assessed the function of the volunteers' livers by looking at the concentrations of liver enzymes in their blood. People who have liver damage have high concentrations of these enzymes, which are associated with an increased risk of conditions such as cirrhosis, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr John Chambers, the lead author of the study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "The liver is a central hub in the body and because it has so many diverse functions, it is linked to a large number of conditions. Our new study is a big step towards understanding the role that different genes play in keeping the liver working normally, and towards identifying targets for drugs that can help prevent the liver from functioning abnormally or becoming susceptible to disease."

The researchers identified 42 areas on the genetic code associated with liver function and they then went on to pinpoint 69 associated genes within these areas. Some of the genes are known to play a part in other functions in the body, including inflammation and immunity, and metabolising glucose and carbohydrates.

Professor Jaspal S Kooner, the senior author of the study from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: "This massive international research effort provides in-depth new knowledge about the genes regulating the liver. We are particularly excited about the genes whose precise role we don't yet know. Investigating these further should help us to fill in the gaps in our understanding about what happens when the liver ceases to function normally and how we might be able to tackle this."

Professor Paul Elliott, also a senior author of the study, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "Liver problems affect a huge number of people and they can have a devastating effect on a person's quality of life. This study represents a vast discovery that opens up multiple new avenues for research."


'/>"/>
Contact: LAURA GALLAGHER
l.gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
0044-207-594-8432
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mass. Eye and Ear awarded largest NIH grant in hospital’s history
2. Mount Sinai receives $3.4 million for largest study of personalized medicine in the clinical setting
3. Worlds largest sheep an international traveler
4. Media registration opens for Neuroscience 2011, worlds largest meeting on brain science and health
5. Landsat 5 satellite helps emergency managers fight largest fire in Arizona history
6. Caltech researchers build largest biochemical circuit out of small synthetic DNA molecules
7. EUREKA, the largest European network for industrial R&D and innovation, launches E!NNOVEST
8. Scientists discover the largest assembly of whale sharks ever recorded
9. The Pantanal: A book on the ecology of the largest contiguous wetland in the world
10. Newly discovered natural arch in Afghanistan one of worlds largest
11. Energy, security, superconductivity and more at the largest physics meeting of the year
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/16/2017)... 16, 2017  Genos, a community for personal ... has received Laboratory Accreditation from the College of ... to laboratories that meet stringent requirements around quality, ... processes. "Genos is committed to maintaining ... We,re honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," said ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... , Feb. 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- ... platform that is designed to enhance fraud detection ... release in the RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence ... organizations to leverage additional insights from internal and ... to better protect their customers from targeted cybercrime ...
(Date:2/10/2017)... DUBLIN , Feb 10, 2017 ... PharmaBiotech,s new report "Personalized Medicine - Scientific and Commercial ... ... in personalized medicine. Diagnosis is integrated with therapy for selection ... emphasis on early detection and prevention of disease in modern ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... During ... connected digital health applications, announced a partnership with Redox, a leader in cloud-based ... to many clinical systems while keeping data secure in the cloud. , The ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... Treximo will pair its $200M operational capacity with its strategic internal leadership ... in areas affecting quality and operational management. With office locations in ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... , Feb. 21, 2017   Logicalis Healthcare Solutions ... IT solutions and managed services provider ( www.us.logicalis.com ), ... Desk for Epic. The new service will help hospital ... resources by giving physicians, nurses and other clinicians immediate ... tier-one support. This will allow hospital IT staff to ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ) announced today that Jean-Francois ... the company,s COO, has been named President, effective immediately.  ... Fabrice has overseen the construction, start-up and operation of the manufacturing ... the Mitsui JV.  Fabrice has also been extensively involved in the ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: