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Heart Watch Blog: Liver Protein Linked To Coronary Artery Disease

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Feb 17, 2006

Liver Protein Linked To Coronary Artery Disease

Liver Protein Linked To Coronary Artery Disease
Image shows CREBH (green), a liver-specific transcription factor, in the nucleus of liver cells where it activates inflammatory response genes. The nucleus is surrounded by endoplasmic reticulum (red). Photo credit: Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D., U-M Medical School.
A protein made by the liver may be linked to the development of coronary artery disease as per new research from University of Michigan Medical School. These researchers have identified a liver protein, called CREBH that triggers an inflammatory response in the liver and also may be involved in the development of coronary artery disease. This protein is a transcription factor that turns on the activity of specific genes in liver cells and is activated in response to cellular stress.

"This is the first evidence indicating that an acute inflammatory response in the liver can be triggered by stress in the endoplasmic reticulum," says Randal J. Kaufman, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and professor of biological chemistry in the U-M Medical School, who led the research study.

Results of the study are scheduled for publication in the Feb. 10 issue of Cell.

Scientists have known for some time that immune system cells release biochemical signals called cytokines, which travel through the bloodstream and activate an inflammatory response elsewhere in the body. But no one knew that liver inflammation could be triggered by signals from individual liver cells.

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Heart Watch Blog: Liver Protein Linked To Coronary Artery Disease

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