Stomach hormone helps reduce liver damage

1 March 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

white–mice.jpgA hormone found in the stomach reduces inflammation and could ease liver diseases such as cirrhosis, research on rats has revealed.

Previous studies of the hormone ghrelin had shown it to protect against other diseases such as Parkinson’s. Now a team of scientists has demonstrated that it also has a positive influence on conditions of the liver. The researchers decided to focus on the effects of ghrelin on liver fibrosis where there is an abnormal accumulation of proteins, often leading to a chronic liver illness.

Rats with liver fibrosis were divided into groups and one was treated with ghrelin, the other used as a control. The group treated with ghrelin saw a 25% reduction in the number of fibrogenic cells compared to the untreated rodents. Researchers then investigated the action of the hormone on rats with acute liver disease. Results showed a significant reduction in liver damage and less inflammation in the rats treated with the hormone.

Scientists are optimistic about the results of this study, and wish to carry out further research to evaluate the safety of ghrelin in patients with chronic liver disease.