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Liver Disease | Key Protein Factor Linked To Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Until now little has been understood about the role of ATF6 in regulating liver metabolism or how fatty liver disease develops. “When alcohol is consumed, the cellular stress that is caused activates a pathway called the unfolded protein response,” says lead author Kirsten Sadler, PhD, Associate Professor in the Division of Liver Diseases in the Samuel Bronfman Department of Medicine and in the Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “This deficient protein response in liver cells often leads to the development of a fatty liver.”

Long held clinical observations have found that alcoholics frequently suffer from complications, such as bleeding, attributed to deficiencies in the proteins. “By identifying a link between the unfolded protein response and metabolic disorders, this study is among the first to make a clear, direct and mechanistic connection between liver cell stress (caused by alcohol), activation of a critical pathway in the cell (the unfolded protein response), and the development of fatty liver disease,” added Sadler.

To mimic the effects of a binge drink, researchers bathed young zebrafish in alcohol. The effect of the alcohol on the liver of

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