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Is there a new liver-disease medication on the horizon?

Imperial College London and Rutgers University researchers are collaborating to see if the hormone Kisspeptin can help persons with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatosis (NASH). 

A hormone traditionally associated to attractiveness may have the ability to treat liver illness, according to new research. NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is a liver disease associated to obesity and diabetes that affects around a quarter of adults in Europe.

Kisspeptin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates the reproductive system as well as parts of metabolism. It has previously been demonstrated to increase brain activity linked to attraction. Researchers from these two institutions discovered that targeting hormone receptors in the liver can help with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the mice.

The Kisspeptin receptor was missing in mice fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet by Rutgers University researchers and therefore were unable to respond to kisspeptin. These mice had more fat in their livers than normal mice, according to reports. Kisspeptin improved liver fibrosis and indicators of liver damage in mice with NASH when given for 6 weeks.

While researchers studied patients with NAFLD and NASH and discovered that patients with NAFLD and/or NASH have greater Kisspeptin levels than patients without NAFLD or NASH or people with type 2 diabetes. They speculated that this is one method the body tries to deal with NAFLD and NASH-related liver damage.

Kisspeptin’s potential for usage as a therapy for NASH is of special interest to the researchers. The researchers discovered that patients with NASH have much lower amounts of Kisspeptin in their liver and blood than people who do not have the disease. These preliminary findings from the collaborative research were described as “new and interesting,” indicating that Kisspeptin may help to improve a number of major anomalies in this common liver disease.

Kisspeptin could be an effective treatment for NASH, according to the researchers, and could potentially prevent some people with NASH from developing liver failure.

Is there a new liver-disease medication on the horizon?

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