Using a new screening technique for genes that promote liver repair in mouse models of acute and chronic liver disease, German investigators identified a potential therapeutic target to enhance liver regeneration (Wuestefeld T et al. Cell. 2013;153:389-401).
By interfering with the expression of hundreds of genes in mouse livers through the use of small inhibitory RNA molecules, the researchers found that inhibiting the MKK4 gene increased the production and survival of hepatocytes after acute and chronic liver damage, resulting in healthier livers and prolonged survival in mice. MKK4 encodes an enzyme that regulates various proteins involved in liver regeneration.
Hampton T. Liver Disease Treatments. JAMA. 2013;309(21):2205. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6702
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