Genes linked with unhealthy liver function identified
PTI - WASHINGTON
Published: 02nd October 2013 05:14 PM
Last Updated: 02nd October 2013 05:14 PM
Scientists have discovered genes that can help identify which obese patients are most at risk of developing severe liver diseases.
The research led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in US studied nearly 2,300 extremely obese diabetes patients. It looked at how genomic factors affect the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
"These genetic factors could help us identify patients who are most at risk of developing non-alcoholic forms of fatty-liver disease (NAFLD), and which patients may be more likely to progress to severe forms of NAFLD, such as steatohepatitis (NASH)," said Dr Johanna DiStefano, the study's principal investigator and lead author.
NAFLD is the build up of extra fat in liver cells, not caused by alcohol. It is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease.
"Our results showed evidence for new genetic loci that may play a role in the biological mechanisms of NAFLD and NASH," said Dr Glenn S Gerhard, a faculty member of the Geisinger Obesity Institute, US, and a co-investigator of the study.
"We discovered genes that may help identify those patients most at risk for the types of liver disease so severe that they could require transplants," said Gerhard, Administrative Director for the Institute for Personalised Medicine at Penn State University-Hershey.
Patients included in the study were those with extreme obesity enrolled in a bariatric surgery programme.