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A treatment gap remains for many conditions involving damage to the liver, the body’s main organ for removing toxins, among other functions. The Experimental Biology 2018 meeting (EB 2018) will feature important research announcements related to the causes of liver degradation and possible treatments.

Receptor for sleep hormone melatonin may play a role in liver cirrhosis

Texas A&M University College of Medicine and Central Texas Veterans Health Care System researchers have discovered a potential new lead for treating chronic liver diseases. The research focuses on melatonin, a hormone associated with maintaining circadian rhythms. Receptors for this hormone can be found in the liver, as well as elsewhere in the body, and previous experiments using mice have shown that melatonin helps reduce the processes that cause liver fibrosis (scarring that ultimately leads to cirrhosis). When the researchers bred mice that were incapable of expressing different kinds of melatonin receptors, the mice showed different rates of liver fibrosis. Fibrosis was significantly decreased in mice incapable of expressing one receptor in particular, known as MT1. This suggests that drugs designed to block MT1 activity could potentially help slow liver disease progression.

Nan Wu will present this research at the American Society for

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