Liver damage or liver cirrhosis that claims thousands of lives every year may very soon be a thing of the past. In a new medical finding, scientists claim that liver damage caused either by heavy alcohol consumption, with age, disease or even repeated injury can be reversed in coming days. Scientists at Mayo Clinic have discovered that they could block off the two proteins that carry 'instructions' for the formation of fibroblasts - hunks of scar tissue – hence being able to reverse the fibrosis process.
Lung and liver diseases' progression of damage and scarring is a familiar discussion among scientists but the details of the development is still a subject of constant research. Over the recent years scientists have been able to discover two proteins that seemed to switch on certain genes which then in turn send instructions to the lungs or liver that tell tissue scarring to set in.
The two proteins, YAP and TAZ, are involved in other diseases, most notably, cancer. But despite the fact that YAP and TAZ make tempting targets for stopping both tumor growth and the development of fibroblasts, scientists couldn't simply block them off without disrupting a whole cascade of other essential biological processes. Looking closely at the fibroblasts to find a way to block YAP and TAZ in isolation, the team found-dopamine.
'Dopamine is mostly studied in disorders of the central nervous system, and we were surprised to find dopamine receptors expressed in fibroblasts,' said lead study author Dr Daniel Tschumerlin.
'In addition to following up on regulation of dopamine signaling in the lung, we are actively developing novel molecules to target the dopamine receptor, as we think there is substantial promise in trying to translate this approach to human diseases,' added Tshumerlin on this new finding.