Scientists discover key factor in NAFLD progression

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A team of scientists led by Prof. Jang Hyun Choi and Prof. Sung Ho Park of UNIST has made a major breakthrough in understanding the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is commonly associated with obesity. Their research found that a protein called Thrap3, which is associated with the thyroid hormone receptor, is a key factor in the worsening of NAFLD.

Thrap3 inhibits the activity of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an important regulator of fat metabolism in the liver. By inhibiting AMPK, Thrap3 prevents the liver from breaking down triglycerides and reduces cholesterol levels, which contribute to fat accumulation and worsening of NAFLD.

Scientists discover key factor in NAFLD progression

The team’s findings, published in the journal Experimental and Molecular Medicine, may pave the way for new treatments for NAFLD. They demonstrated through animal experiments that inhibiting the expression of Thrap3 significantly improved NAFLD and NAFLD (an inflammatory form of fatty liver).

“The discovery of the Thrap3 gene,” said Prof. Choi, “provides us with a new target for the treatment of NAFLD.” We hope this research will lead to the development of effective therapies that will help millions of people around the world.

This research was funded by the Korea Research Foundation under the Ministry of Science and ICT, the National Mouse Phenotype Cell (KMPC) and the UNIST Future Leaders Program.Dr. Hyun-Jun Jang and Dr. Yo Han Lee of the Department of Biological Sciences at UNIST are co-authors.

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