One of the side effects of western lifestyle are the increasing ratios of diseases such as fatty-liver-diseases. Those maladies, that were once considered alcohol-associated are becoming more and more widespread. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are defined as the build up of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by extensive consumption of alcohol.
In the last decades, many cases of non-alcoholic-fatty-liver- many cases, the patient are linked to the patient’s being obese or overweight. These patients also suffer from an higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Many of these diseases lead to cirrhosis, a condition which causes scar tissue on the liver.
Now, an Israeli medical study has found a cell in the immune system which is a key factor in battling the life-threatening condition
Naturally, the human body has mechanisms that prevent internal organs from scarring. The prevention of scarring is done by a cell called Neuroligin 4, which is part of the immune system and is categorized as a Natural Killer (NK) cell. However, researchers at HadassahUniversityMedicalCenter in Jerusalem found that over-expression of this cell does the exact opposite. When a person is suffering from liver disease, such as Hepatitis, or when excessive consumption of alcohol or food damages liver functions, the behavior of Neuroligin 4 changes and becomes damaging.
Professor Rifaat Safadi, head of Hadassah Liver unit, explains: “In their healthy form, the Neuroligin cells kill the scar tissue cells. In a case of over expression scenario , the mechanism is put into operation that keeps the cells from doing their ‘unscarring work.”
The Hadassah study compared blood samples from dozens of patients with cirrhosis to those of a healthy control group. Four years ago, the same research team found that intact NK cells, found in cow’s colostrum.enriched with insulin antibodies are good for the liver and prevent cirrhosis. The finding was published in the February edition of The Journal of Hepatology and also reported by a group of researchers at the National Institute of Health in the United States.
‘Hadasit’, Hadassah’s Technology Transfer Company, has already patented Neuroligin 4 in hopes of using it to develop treatments to fend off liver disease.