The blood platelets in the pathogenesis of fatty liver and liver cancer, involved

Blood platelets play a crucial role in fatty liver and liver cancer

Until recently, platelets in platelet-called, solely as guarantor for blood clotting and wound healing are known. However, researchers have now been able to show that the smallest cells of the blood are also decisive in the formation of fatty liver, non-alcoholic fatty liver inflammation and of liver cancer.

No effective drug therapy

According to health experts, the non-counts alcohol related fatty liver the most common chronic liver diseases in Western industrialized Nations and is increasing in emerging countries is growing rapidly. Around a third of German is affected. An effective drug therapy currently does not exist. Nevertheless, everyone can do something about it. Since the disease is often triggered by lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet, the treatment is usually a change in Diet and more exercise is recommended.

As the most important risk factors for fatty liver, Obesity and type 2 Diabetes are valid. But also platelets are involved in the development of the dangerous disease. (Image: ag visuell/

Risk factors for fatty liver

As the most important risk factors for fatty liver are considered Overweight, especially in connection with excessive fat in the abdominal area – as well as Diabetes type-2 storage.

However, diet and lack of exercise are just one aspect of what is happening as a team of researchers led by Mathias Heikenwälder from the German cancer research center (DKFZ) has found together with colleagues to Achim Weber from the University hospital and the University of Zurich.

Because in order for a fatty liver grows to inflammation, specific migration of immune cells in the liver. But what attracts you?

“We have now shown for the first time that platelets play a crucial role,” said Heike forests in a message.

Blood platelets, known as a guarantor for blood clotting and wound healing

Blood, in the jargon platelets are platelets, the smallest cells of the blood. Until recently, they were only guarantors for blood clotting and wound healing are known.

However, researchers are increasingly discovering that they are involved in numerous pathological processes, and also to the development of cancer.

So heikenwälder and colleagues showed that in mice receiving a fat-rich diet, increased platelets are found in the liver. Similar is observed also in people with non-alcohol-related fatty liver.

The results of the study were published recently in the journal “Nature Medicine”.

Inflammation of the liver weakened

The mice were in addition to their fat-containing diet over a period of twelve months, with the coagulation Aspirin and Clopidogrel, inhibitors, treated, and also on the platelet effect, reduced both the number of immigrant blood platelets as well as the number of inflammatory immune cells in the liver.

The same effect, the researchers achieved, if you want your animals to a different blood thinner, administered for the specific, only the function of the blood platelets, inhibits (Ticagrelor).

“The mice were overweight, but no fatty liver, and not liver cancer,” explained Heike forests.

As a responsible for blood platelets to lure in the liver, the researchers identified Kupffer cells, special scavenger cells (macrophages) of the liver.

In addition, a crucial role seems to play the immigrant platelets to the Kupffer cells of the liver to dock. This can happen two different molecular “Docking bays”.

According to the experts, the glycoprotein GPIba plays on the surface of the platelets have a particularly important role in this docking procedure.

The scientists blocked GPIba with an antibody, the number of messengers decreased in the liver, the inflammatory attract immune cells. In consequence of the inflammation of the liver weakened.

New approaches for the therapy of the disease

The team of researchers, his work is not only a better understanding of the fatty liver on the track. “From our results, we now want to develop new approaches for the therapy of fatty liver, what we have shown in mice that already,” said Heike forests.

So it is conceivable that the number of active platelets to reduce the fat liver, or your Pin, and thus the recruitment of inflammatory to prevent immune cells. This could, for example, by clotting inhibitors or antibodies against GPIba.

In a pilot study, the scientists have found: When people are treated with a fatty liver with blood thinners, the proportion of fat in the liver, as well as the size of the institution.

Heikenwälder has a Vision to affect the liver as the Central Organ for the metabolism in a targeted manner and to protect.

“If we succeed, the cycle of inflammatory processes to break through, we can help affected people to reduce your risk of fatty liver induced liver cancer.”

Impact on the entire metabolism

As the DKFZ in the message explains, it comes with a fatty liver to an increased fat storage in liver cells. Affected not to notice the first, mostly, but it’s not harmless at all.

Because of a fatty liver is the so-called non-alcohol related Steatohepatitis (NASH), which in turn can lead to cirrhosis of the liver can develop an inflammation of the liver with pathological changes.

The cells of the metabolic organs perish, the liver is scarred and no longer shrinks, until it is able to fulfil their task. At the same time, the risk for liver cancer grows.

In addition, the fatty liver affects the entire metabolism, and disorders increases the risk for type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (ad)