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Epigenetic markers to predict risk of long-term liver damage

Rat studies suggest heritable epigenetic modifications induced by liver fibrosis could help predict long-term liver damage susceptibility in offspring. In male offspring of rats with a history of chemically induced liver damage, fewer liver myofibroblasts were generated, liver levels of antifibrotic peroxisome proliferation-activated receptor-g (PPARG; PPARg) were increased and levels of profibrotic transforming growth factor-b (TGFB; TGFb) were decreased compared with what was seen in rats from parents that underwent sham injury. In sperm from rats with liver fibrosis, epigenetic modifications occurred that were absent in sperm from rats without fibrosis. Ongoing studies include testing whether epigenetic mutations occur in human patients and predicting risk of long-term liver damage.

SciBX 5(37); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.992
Published online Sept. 20, 2012

Patent application filed; available for licensing

Zeybel, M. et al. Nat. Med.;
published online Sept. 2, 2012;
Contact: Jelena Mann, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.
Contact: Derek A. Mann,
same affiliation as above