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How taurine helps protect liver from fibrosis

Posted Apr 22 2010 12:00am

A new study has helped scientists understand how a natural dietary supplement - taurine - may help prevent fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver.

Hepatic fibrosis (HF) occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases.  Approximately 25 percent to 40 percent of cases of hepatic fibrosis may ultimately progress to hepatic cirrhosis. Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) contribute significantly to the occurrence of HF and the activation of HSC is the key issue in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis. Taurine is an important anti-injury amino acid in the body. Taurine has a protective effect on various types of liver injury. It has been clear that the antifibrotic mechanism of taurine may involve its inhibition of the activation and proliferation of HSCs. However, the molecular mechanism of taurine-mediated antifibrotic activity is largely unknown.

A research article published April 21, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. A research team led by Professor Jian Liang analyzed the differential expression of proteins between taurine-treated HSCs and controls by comparative proteomics technologies.

Nineteen differentially expressed proteins (11 up-regulated and 8 down-regulated) were identified by two-dimensional electrophoresis/mass spectrometry, and the expression profiles of GLO1 and ANXA1 were validated by Western blotting. GO analysis found that these differentially expressed proteins were enriched within biological processes such as “cellular apoptosis”, “oxidation reaction” and “metabolic process” in clusters. Flow cytometric analysis showed that taurine-treated HSCs had a significantly increased apoptosis rate when compared with the control group.

Their results are very helpful to understand better the molecular mechanism underlying taurine’s protection against hepatic fibrosis and thereby provide new targets for the management of hepatic fibrosis and drug development to help the liver (Adapted from Eurekalert).

A full copy of the research article is available online free here:

Reference: Deng X, et al. Natural taurine promotes apoptosis of human hepatic stellate cells in proteomics analysis. World J Gastroenterol 2010;16(15): 1916-1923

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