2016, May

New target for the treatment of fatty liver and diabetes

What happens at the molecular level when we go hungry? Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München in cooperation with the Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung (German Center for Diabetes Research - DZD) and the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center - DKFZ) were able to show that upon deprivation of food a certain protein is produced that adjusts the metabolism in the liver.

Prof. Stephan Herzig and colleagues wanted to answer the question why an intermittent fasting diet can help to whip the metabolism back into shape. They looked for liver cell genetic activity differences that were caused by fasting and they were able to show that especially the gene for the protein GADD45β was often read differently depending on the diet: the greater the hunger, the more frequently the cells produced the molecule. GADD45β is responsible for controlling the absorption of fatty acids in the liver. A low GADD45β level is accompanied by increased fat accumulation in the liver and an elevated blood sugar level.

The researchers now want to use the new findings for therapeutic intervention in the fat and sugar metabolism so that the positive effects of food deprivation might be translated for treatment.

Original publication:
Fuhrmeister J, Zota A, Sijmonsma TP, Seibert O, Cıngır Ş, Schmidt K, Vallon N, de Guia RM, Niopek K, Berriel Diaz M, Maida A, Blüher M, Okun JG, Herzig S, Rose AJ. Fasting-induced liver GADD45β restrains hepatic fatty acid uptake and improves metabolic health. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201505801. EMBO Mol Med. May 3, 2016

Link to the publication:

Lipid stain in the liver. Source: HMGU