Closing the gap on liver toxicity
U.S. researchers have identified a small molecule gap junction inhibitor that protects mice from drug-induced liver toxicity.1 The team has founded Heprotech Inc. to further characterize and optimize the inhibitor.
Gap junctions are multiprotein channel structures that directly connect the cytoplasm of two adjacent cells, allowing for electrical and chemical communication.
In previous cell culture studies, Martin Yarmush and colleagues showed that gap junctions play a role in the propagation of inflammatory and antiviral signals between several cell types including hepatocytes.2 Yarmush is professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
The pathogenesis of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) involves proinflammatory cellular damage