S3-E35.2 – Liver Science At ILC 2022: The Interplay of Stellate Cell Dynamics & Hepatic Fibrosis

S3-E35.2 - Liver Science At #ILC2022: The Interplay of Stellate Cell Dynamics and Hepatic Fibrosis
Scott Friedman, Neil Henderson and Rachel Zayas join the Surfers to discuss a groundbreaking session from #ILC2022 discussing advances in what Liver Science can tell us about fibrosis. This conversation focuses on two abstracts that explore the stellate cell dynamics in the creation and resolution of fibrotic scars. Both of these rely on the kinds of single cell analyses that lie at the heart of much of Neil Henderson's research.

Last month, roughly 5,000 liver community stakeholders gathered in London for the 2022 International Liver Congress (ILC 2022.) On Thursday afternoon, Scott Friedman chaired an abstract session discussing advances in the basic science of researching and understanding mechanisms surrounding fibrosis and stellate cells. Later, he described it as “one of the most exciting groups of presentations I’ve seen in many years.” This presentation centers around two papers that explore stellate cell dynamics related to the progression and regression of fibrosis, both of which rely on methods pioneered by Neil and his colleague Prakesh Ramachandran to take individual cells from tissue (in this case, the liver), use transcriptomics to interrogate the mRNA and infer how cells interact in different processes.

The Interplay of Stellate Cell Dynamics and Hepatic Fibrosis

The first presentation, which takes up the bulk of this conversation, centers around scar formation in mouse livers under injurious assault and then scar healing when the assault ceases. Before discussing the study itself, Scott provides a brief but extremely rich background of the research technique that are driving progress in this area, including Neil’s work and other advances that have been recognized with Nobel prizes.

When focus reverts to the actual papers, Neil notes that this presentation is unusual in that most research devotes far more attention to scar formation than to regression whereas this note looks at both processes (In Season 2, Episode 50, Lars Johansson noted similarly that researchers spend far more time researching “what shouldn’t be in the liver” than what should be there.) He continues that we can research these issues far more effective in mice than in people, in part because we do not biopsy people with healthy or healed livers. This leads into another brief discussion of methods, in this case spatial transcriptomic. Jörn asks a clinician question: if there are, as this paper suggests, 14 different states of activation, how do we know which are druggable?

NOTE: The researcher presenting this paper at ILC 2022 noted that the research was funded in part by Novo Nordisk.

As the discussion closes, Scott mentions a different paper that touches on the role of peroxidation an antioxidant process, in fibrosis progression. and regression.

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