New research reveals the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the fight against non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Using innovative analytical techniques, researchers determined that omega-3 targets betacellulin, a protein that contributes to liver fibrosis. This discovery opens new avenues for NASH drug research and highlights the importance of omega-3s in the diet for liver health.
A recent study conducted by Oregon State University revealed new insights into how certain polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3s, fight serious liver conditions. This discovery paves the way for research into new drugs for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), for which there is currently no FDA-approved treatment.
Scientists including Natalia Shulzhenko, Andrei Morgan, and Donald Jump at Oregon State University used a technique known as multiomic network analysis to find that omega-3 supplements can be used to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. This mechanism involves betacellulin, a protein growth factor that contributes to liver fibrosis and other serious liver conditions.
The results of this research have recently been published in EMBO molecular medicine. NASH is associated with a disease known as metabolic syndrome, and it is crucial to understand the role of omega-3s in the fight against NASH.
In this study, scientists used both a mouse model and human liver transcriptome data to determine that omega-3 PUFAs reduce, or downregulate, betacellulin in both mice and humans with NASH. This discovery not only significantly advances our understanding of how NASH begins and progresses, but also opens new doors for pharmaceutical research. Researchers say the discovery of betacellulin as a new drug target may help explore precision medicine approaches to NASH treatment and liver cancer prevention by using specific omega-3 PUFAs.
In addition to dietary supplements, omega-3 PUFAs can be found in cold-water fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as in some nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Omega-3 PUFAs are essential fatty acids that are not produced by the body but must be obtained from the diet.
Jyothi Padiadpu, Manuel Garcia-Jaramillo, Nolan K Newman, Written by Jacob W Pederson, Richard Rodrigues, Zhipeng Lee, Sekhavir Singh, Philippe Monnier, Giorgio Trinchieri, Kevin Brown, Amiran K. Zutsev, Natalia Shulzhenko, Donald B. Jump, Andrei Morgan, 2023 October 20th, EMBO molecular medicine. DOI: 10.15252/emm.202318367
Jyoti Padyap, a postdoctoral fellow in the OSU College of Pharmacy, is the study’s lead author. Other Oregon State researchers who contributed to the paper were Nolan Newman, Richard Rodriguez, Sehajivir Singh, Manuel Garcia-Jaramillo, Jacob Pederson, Jipeng Li, Philip Monnier, and Kevin Brown.
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.