University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have discovered a key trigger for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a mysterious condition that causes fat to build up in the liver for no clear reason. The new insights help explain the condition in younger people and could lead to the first treatment for the most common liver disease in the world.
The culprit? Wrinkles forming in the cellular compartment that contains our DNA. Prior research by the UVA scientists suggested that these wrinkly cellular nuclei could be involved in common metabolic diseases such as diabetes and fatty liver disease and even aging itself. The new results bolster those findings and could lead to treatments targeting the wrinkles to stop fatty liver disease – and possibly slow or reverse aging.
“We found a common mechanism involving the nucleus and the nuclear lamina that leads to fat accumulation in the liver in aged individuals and younger people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” said senior researcher Irina M. Bochkis, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Pharmacology. “Our findings could lead to novel treatments aimed at restoring the function of the nuclear lamina to control aberrant genes and reverse fatty liver in young patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or aged individuals.”
Read full press release in UVA Health Newsroom.