BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers developed a "detour" therapeutical strategy that may help relieve symptoms of fatty liver in the future.
The two back-to-back papers published on Thursday in the journal Science Translational Medicine reported a new molecular mechanism correlated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH), a prevalent chronic liver disease that can lead to liver cancer.
An enzyme in the human body called ACC has been known to facilitate fat synthesis in liver cells. Previously, scientists have tried to design an ACC inhibitor, but it showed an unwanted effect of increasing fat in the blood, according to the study.
Scientists from Wuhan University, led by medicine professor Li Hongliang, took a backward move and found that the expression of a gene named ALOX12 increased the ACC level.
In another paper, the research team described a small molecule that can disable the ALOX12 protein in mice and nonhuman primate models and then hold up the release of the ACC enzyme.
The study revealed that treatment with the chemical effectively slowed down the progression of the disease in animals and did not cause excessive lipid levels.
Zhang Xiaojing, a co-author of two papers, told Xinhua that the findings provided proof of concept for the use of a new class of molecules as next-generation drugs for NASH treatment. Enditem