HOUSTON, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Researchers from U.S. Texas A&M University System led a study of identifying one of the mechanisms leading to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the university said Monday in a press release.
The university researchers in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Baylor Scott & White Research Institute have completed a study identifying the mechanism, which provides new possibilities for prevention and treatment of the NAFLD.
The study, which also included input from researchers affiliated with China's Wuhan University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Chongqing Medical University and Peking University, as well as Augusta University and the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, was published in the journal Hepatology.
"Our research involved the adenosine 2A receptor, which plays a protective role against tissue damage," said Chaodong Wu, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist in the nutrition and food science department of Texas A&M University.
"It can reduce overactive immune cell activity, protecting tissues from being damaged by inflammation. However, until now its role in protecting from tissue damage relative to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was largely unknown."
Wu said through this study, the researchers examined the effects disrupting this receptor would have on aspects of obesity-associated NAFLD so they could understand the underlying mechanisms.
Wu said, "Overall, the study validates the importance of adenosine 2A receptor as a therapeutic and/or preventive target for NAFLD," adding "this is significant in that it demonstrates the feasibility of targeting that receptor to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by means of its activation."
He said based on the results generated, once bioactive food components capable of activating the receptor can be identified, these components and foods enriched with these components can be used to help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.