Scientists create living models to study fatty liver disease

Scientists have grown organoids to simulate fatty liver disease. Hubrecht Institute reports.

The accumulation of fat in the liver is becoming an increasingly common disease in the world, it affects more than a quarter of the world’s population. This condition can lead to inflammation, liver dysfunction, and eventually scar tissue. Most often, this disease occurs due to improper diet and inactive lifestyle, as well as genetic disorders. At the same time, scientists do not have a suitable tool for studying this disease – fatty liver disease in mice proceeds in a completely different way.

Therefore, scientists have created organoid models for these purposes. Organelles are miniature resemblances of human or animal organs, created from living cells, which function as in a real counterpart. With their help, it was possible to simulate fatty disease in three ways: by “feeding” cells with fatty acids, which should reproduce a “bad” diet, and also by using two different genetic mutations caused by artificial genome editing.

After that, the authors began to study the effect of various drugs on this disease. It turned out that organelles, whose fatty disease was caused by a genetic mutation, react to drugs differently than others. As a result, scientists were able to isolate the most effective drugs to combat this disease, but before they can be used, it is necessary to make sure that they will act on a real organ in a similar way.

Zoologists have previously recorded the brain activity of octopuses in their natural position for the first time.

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