New insights into the functioning of the liver

In Germany, as many as five million people suffer from liver diseases. The liver is a resilient and complex organ which we do not understand enough even in its basic functioning. A team at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) is now providing fundamentally new insights into the function of the liver to produce bile and transport it through ‘canaliculi’: According to the study, there is a stagnant liquid in these canaliculi and the constituents of bile move in this standing liquid primarily by diffusion. These findings overturn long-standing assumptions about how the liver secretes bile. They are published in the journal „Hepatology“.

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GASL award 2019 for Ahmed Ghallab

The German Association for the Study of the Liver (GASL) has honored Dr. Ahmed Ghallab with the GSAL award of the YAEL foundation 2019. The award is donated annually with 3.000 euro. The best scientific publication of the previous year is chosen by the board and programme committee of the GASL. Ahmed Ghallab is working as a scientific junior group leader at Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo). 

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EU-Project: Toxicity Testing and Risk Assessment for the 21st century

The vision of the H2020-supported EU-ToxRisk project is to drive the required paradigm shift in toxicological testing away from ‘black box’ animal testing towards a toxicological assessment based on human cell responses and a comprehensive mechanistic understanding of cause-consequence relationships of chemical adverse effects. logo

Within the EU-ToxRisk project IfADo plays a key role in contributing technologies and concepts of liver toxicology, toxicogenomics and systems toxicology and is member of the steering committee. „We are working on in vitro-systems to reduce animal testing“, says Dr. Raymond Reif, leader of the ‘Visualizing Toxicology’ junior group at the IfADo.

With the help of those systems Reif tries to identify hepatotoxic substances without animal testing. The EU-ToxRisk project (30 million €) started in January 2016 and will run for six years. For more information visit the project’s public website.

Blueprint for stemm cell differentitaion into liver cells (hepatocytes)

Stem cell research gets more and more important because these cells can be directed to differentiate into practically all mature cell types. This represents a potential solution for therapeutics of severely damaged organs and also an alternative to animal drug and toxicity testing. Nonetheless an essential question still remains: How similar are differentiated stem cells to the desired mature cells, e.g. liver cells? Scientists at IfADo – Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in cooperation with partners from EU and UK developed a method for precisely assessing the degree of stem cell-differentiation into mature liver cells (i.e. hepatocytes) based on whole-genome gene expression analysis and statistical models.

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