Karolinska Institute researchers have come up with a promising antibody medication candidate for the medication of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
There is presently no treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which affects individuals with type 2 diabetes and can develop into other extreme liver problems. The researchers discovered an antibody that can inhibit the protein VEGF-B, potentially opening the door to new therapy options for the illness.
The investigation has been reported in the Journal of Hepatology.
Fatty liver happens to be a serious condition
Annelie Falkevall, the first author of the study and a researcher at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics and Karolinska Institutet, stated that with the therapeutic principle that they have developed, it might be possible to prevent fatty liver and potentially reduce the risk of liver failure and terminal liver cancer. Fatty liver is associated with many severe and often fatal disorders.
Obesity and overweight are major global health challenges that have contributed to an increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. As per the Swedish Diabetes Association, there are 500,000 diabetics in Sweden, with 85–90% being type 2.
Chronic obesity and type 2 diabetes can raise the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is the leading cause of liver-related disorders in Europe and the United States, such as liver failure and liver cancer.
Although white adipose tissue may store energy in the form of lipids, it fails to do so in persons with persistent obesity and type 2 diabetes. As a result, the concentration of fatty acids in the blood rises.
The body is thus obliged to store this energy somewhere else, such as the liver. The development of this fat in the liver impairs glucose secretion and also leads to insulin resistance. As a result, the risk of lasting liver damage increases.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects approximately 100 million persons, and a previous study suggests that those with the illness are 17 times more likely to develop liver cancer.
A drug candidate examination
The researchers discovered a therapeutic candidate in the form of an antibody to the protein Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor B, which is crucial for fatty acid release from white adipose tissue.
The professor at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Ulf Eriksson, said that they have discovered a new approach to treating fatty liver disease that entails maintaining the fatty acids in the adipose tissue so that they do not spill out and build up in the liver.
Their findings reveal that inhibiting the VEGB-B signal pathway pharmacologically in mice avoids fat formation in the liver and lowers the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
On both regular and genetically altered mice, the researchers conducted pharmacological testing. The researchers also looked at fat tissue from 48 bariatric surgery patients. The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affected 50% of the subjects, whereas it did not affect the other 50%. The findings revealed a clear link between VEGB-B signalling in white adipose tissue and the occurrence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Professor Eriksson concluded that the next step in developing this intriguing medication candidate further is to incorporate it into a clinical research program.