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Liver Disease Marked by Cell Stress

  • Published: 2009-01-14 (Revised/Updated 2011-10-28) : Katie Kelley.
  • Synopsis: Researchers make link between onset of cell stress and the development of liver disease in humans.

Main Document

Researchers have recently made a link between the onset of cell stress and the development of liver disease, according to studies conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa.

The study reported that there is a direct link between disruption of a critical cellular housekeeping process and fatty liver disease.

A recent issue of the Developmental Cell reported on the study, which informs individuals of the subsequent background surrounding the onset of this condition, affecting one in three U.S. adults and, according to Science Daily news reports, is "the most common form of the condition in the Western world".

After mutations occurred in the genes of mice undergoing cellular stress, a factor that could also occur within adults, the mice were unable to guard against the "cellular stress caused by protein folding problems," according to the news article.

According to a medical dictionary published by Princeton University, "protein folding is the physical process by which a polypeptide folds into its characteristic and functional three-dimensional structure." While protein folding is an essential process within the body, when proteins are unfolded or miss-folded it is often a sign of cellular stress, thus increasing the risk of developing amyloid plaques, which are linked to Alzheimer's and now the onset of fatty liver disease.

However, investigators are continuing their research and looking at additional physiological stresses to understand what may also lead to the development of fatty liver disease.

The Science Daily news article reported that additional physiological stresses, including the following:

chronic alcohol abuse/consumption


viral infection

Other Causes of Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease occurs when "build-up of excess fat in the liver cells is produced," according to the American Liver Foundation (ALF).

There are several causes behind the development of the condition, according to ALF, including:

alcohol consumption/abuse

lack of physical activity

developing diabetes

elevated triglyceride levels

obesity, including a body mass index (BMI) of above 30

overweight, such as having a BMI of 25 to 30

While ALF reports that "fatty liver may cause no damage" it can also cause inflammation of the liver, which is known as steatohepatitis. Eventually, fatty liver disease can lead to other, worsened illnesses including cirrhosis of the liver, which is a main cause of liver disease, damage and failure.

Prescription Drug Liver Dangers

In addition to the previously mentioned causes of liver damage and liver disease, there also remains a new and disturbing trend among the development of these conditions, which includes consumption of dangerous prescription drugs. One such prescription drug that has been linked to the onset of liver disease is that of Ketek, which is an antibiotic used to treat upper respiratory conditions and antibacterial illnesses among adults.

Ketek was released from Sanofi-Aventis in 2004, however, there have been approximately 100 cases of Ketek-induced liver damage that have been reported during the last few years including at least 18 deaths allegedly caused by the drug's consumption. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory on the Ketek dangers, but no recall of the drug occurred.

Patients affected by the associated Ketek dangers are advised to speak with an experienced pharmaceutical law firm on the details surrounding a Ketek lawsuit, which may supply a victim with monetary compensation.

Reference: Individuals can learn more about liver damage and Ketek by visiting Additionally, readers can locate information on the latest mesothelioma treatments as well as other prescription drug dangers such as the Chantix risks.

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