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04 - 07 - 2018

An actor of liver fibrosis discovered in mice

Studies in patients and mice indicate that a population of immune cells, MAITs, may play an important role in liver fibrosis.




Many chronic diseases of the liver (alcohol abuse, viral hepatitis, steatosis) eventually lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis. In Europe, an estimated 170,000 people die each year from hepatic cirrhosis. No medicine today can stop or reduce fibrosis.





Persistent inflammation of the liver appears to be the cause of fibrosis. Prevention of this inflammation could help stop it.


In patients a population of immune cells, mucosal-associated invariant T-cells (MAITs) have been observed to accumulate in the liver in contact with the cells that produce the fibrin that causes the fibrosis.


A study conducted in a mouse model of chronic liver injury shows that hepatic fibrosis is exacerbated in animals enriched in MAITs. In contrast, mice with little MAITs do not have fibrosis.


This study suggests that targeting TAMIs may be one way to treat liver fibrosis.