1. Fatty Liver Damages Other Organs Through

Intra-organ Communication

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is now a widely prevalent health condition. DZD researchers of the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) of Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University of Tübingen studied the influence of NAFLD in other organs in the body. NAFLD not only increases the risk of chronic liver diseases (liver cirrhosis and liver cancer), but also type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The cause for this is the altered secretion behavior of the fatty liver. It increasingly produces glucose, unfavorable fats and proteins, such as the hepatokine fetuin-A, all of which it releases into the bloodstream, enter other organs and cause adverse reactions there.

Approximately one-third of the pancreatic adipose tissue consists of adipose precursor cells (a kind of stem cells) in addition to the mature adipose cells. If the pancreatic adipose cells are treated with fetuin-A in cell cultures, the mature adipose cells -- but in particular the adipose precursor cells in interaction with the islet cells -- increasingly produce inflammation markers and immune-cell-attracting factors.

In summary, these analyses, published in the journal 'Diabetologia', suggest that a fatty liver, together with a fatty degeneration of the pancreas, triggers an increased local immune cell infiltration and inflammation that accelerate the course of the disease.

The original function of adipose tissue is to have a protective effect. For example, adipose tissue located around blood vessels or the kidney has regenerative properties. "The factor that leads to pathological changes is fetuin-A, which is produced by the fatty liver," said Professor Dorothea Siegel-Axel, head of the working group "Adipose Tissue and Complications" in Tübingen. As a result, instead of protecting tissue as before, the adipose tissue now elicits inflammatory processes. This leads to a restriction of renal function. This is demonstrated by studies on arteries and the kidney, which have recently been published by the working group in the journal 'Scientific Reports'.

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