- The liver contains dozens of different cell types, including various immune cells.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma accounts for 90% of the primary forms of liver cancer.
- About 10,500 new cases are reported in France every year.
Liver cancer research is in progress. in scientific journal room metabolismAmerican scientists have discovered that fat cells can inhibit tumor growth. His work was done on rats.
NASH, a risk factor
The research team was working on the effects of molecular and cellular changes on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NASH, a chronic liver disease. This accumulation of fat in the liver is one of the risk factors for cancer. ,Liver cancer in NASH patients differs from cancer caused by viral hepatitis in that it often develops in the absence of cirrhosis of the liver.Says Jiandi Lin, lead author of the study. We suspect that different disease mechanisms may be involved in NASH-related liver cancerTo better understand them, he and his team created an atlas of liver cells and intracellular interactions in the liver of healthy mice and rats with NASH.
cancer friendly environment
Scientists are particularly interested in hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer. They observed changes in two immune cells, which appear to be more involved in the development of this pathology. In the liver of mice with NASH, T cells showed “Shortcoming functional”But these immune cells normally fight off infected or damaged cells, including cancer cells.
At the same time, the team found that a second type of immune cell, called a “macrophage,” has molecular features commonly associated with cancer. ,We have observed these changes in macrophages and T cells that resemble the tumor microenvironment, but they occur before cancer becomes apparent.“, Indic Jiandi Lin.”This gives us a clue that these changes in the liver microenvironment may provide fertile ground for liver cancer cells to emerge and grow.”
Second, they were interested in what might limit the risks of NASH. Researchers found that a hormone was involved in disease progression, and may be a treatment option in liver cancer. Neurogulin or NRG4, a hormone mainly secreted by fat cells, can protect the liver of mice from NASH.
,Deficiency or loss of this hormone makes the level of liver disease more severe.”, say the authors. When scientists raised hormone levels in rats, Increased levels of NRG4 inhibited the progression of NASH-associated liver cancer. ,Many liver cancer studies focus on the cancerous liver cells themselves: how they grow and how they evade the immune system.“, Soligne Giandi Lin.”But our findings fall outside this liver-focused framework, showing that adipose-derived hormone can actually reprogram the liver’s environment and have a huge impact on cancer development.,