Fatty Foods Cause Irreversible Liver Damage

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Fatty Foods Cause Irreversible Liver Damage
Fatty Foods Cause Irreversible Liver Damage

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Fatty foods cause irreversible liver damage

High fat and sugar in the diet leads to a build-up of excess fat in the liver, which remains even after switching to a healthier diet, according to a new study published in Science Translational Medicine.

Fatty foods cause irreversible liver damage
Fatty foods cause irreversible liver damage

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High fat and sugar in the diet leads to a build-up of excess fat in the liver, which remains even after switching to a healthier diet, according to a new study published in Science Translational Medicine.

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have developed a nanosensor that can non-invasively detect and track fat accumulation in the liver.

The nanosensor is a tiny sensor, about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, made from single-stranded DNA wrapped around a single-walled carbon nanotube. With the accumulation of fat in lysosomes, the color of the emitted light changes.

The researchers used the transducer to assess the effects of a diet high in fat and sugar on the livers of mice, and then evaluated the results after the mice returned to a healthy diet. They found that despite the decrease in fat storage, some residual fat remains in the liver cells for a long time.

“Following a short-term unhealthy diet is a bad idea. The liver remembers,”said study lead author Dr. Daniel Heller.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects up to 30% of people in the United States, where diets high in fat and sugar are common. Excess fat builds up in liver cells called Kupffer cells and can lead to more serious conditions like inflammation, scarring, and even liver cancer (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis).

“Fatty liver disease is a growing problem in the clinic and has quickly become one of the leading causes of liver disease in the United States and Europe,” said study co-author, hepatologist Dr. Robert Schwartz. - We currently do not have medical therapy for fatty liver disease. We tell our patients to eat better and exercise more, which, as you can imagine, is not very effective."

Today, some imaging tools (ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging) help identify people with fatty liver disease, but these methods provide insufficiently detailed information. Dr. Heller's nanosensor is the first non-invasive fat detector in lysosomes of Kupffer cells, potentially identifying those most at risk of developing NAFLD.

In addition to measuring disease progression, nanosensors can also help accelerate research on fatty liver disease and its treatment.

“A biosensor that could detect this type of fat accumulation could accelerate research into the treatment of fatty liver disease and other lipid-related conditions, and potentially lead to better diagnostics,” concluded Dr. Heller.

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