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Liver controls wasting in cancer
Date:1/14/2013

s Stephan Herzig. The researcher therefore specifically searched for differences in protein switches regulating gene activity and hence hepatic energy metabolism in cancerous and healthy mice. Herzig's team found significant differences in a poorly studied gene switch called TSC22D4, which is found in larger amounts in cancerous mice than in healthy control mice.

Herzig's team demonstrated the key role of TSC22D4 in the onset of cachexia. The researchers specifically silenced the switch in the animals' livers. The organ subsequently went back to producing enough VLDL to make lipid levels in the cancerous animals rise. In addition, the genes involved in lipogenesis got boosted again.

"Our results prove, for the first time, that dramatic loss of body mass may be controlled by the liver," says Stephan Herzig. "We also know by now that TSC22D4 has exactly the same effect in human hepatic cells. There is evidence suggesting that this gene switch can be controlled via specific metabolic products and that we might thus be able to slow down the fatal wasting process. However, this approach has not yet been proven experimentally. This is what we will investigate next."


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Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstdt
s.kohlstaedt@dkfz.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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