Study Identifies Potential Therapeutic Target For Non-alcoho
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A team of researchers has identified the CNNM4 protein as a key regulator of magnesium in the liver and potential therapeutic target for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a form of fatty liver disease characterized by inflammation and liver fibrosis, is associated with obesity and has a worldwide prevalence of 1.7 billion people.

Unhealthy nutritional habits and dietary imbalances are recognized as causes of many diseases. Magnesium is widely available in both plant and animal foods; most vegetables, legumes, peas, beans, and nuts are rich in magnesium, as are some seafood and spices. In recent years, there has been growing concern about inadequate magnesium intake in the general population.

In the study, the researchers found a higher expression of the CNNM4 protein in both patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and mouse models of the disease. CNNM4 facilitates transport of magnesium out of the liver and is responsible for the imbalance in the levels of magnesium that ends in the development of liver disease. This molecule opens an unexplored therapeutic window in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

"The study underscores the importance of magnesium balance for supporting liver health. With insight into how this essential metal affects lipid metabolism at the cellular level, possible therapeutic targets for this and other liver pathologies start emerging," says Daniela Buccella, associate professor of chemistry at New York University and a study co-author.

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